Part of the Cvne group, the brand Viña Real has in fact been in its portfolio until recently. Since its beginnings in the 1920s (even though the brand was not registered until the 1940s) Viña Real has traditionally shown more vigour than Imperial and a bigger presence in the palate. Hence the grapes for Viña Real – robust and early ripening- came from the Elciego vicinity (Rioja Alavesa) where they were also vinified.
In 2004 King Juan Carlos inaugurated a spectacular winery designed by the French architect Philippe Mazières and located in Laguardia. The giant cask-shaped building houses the fermentation facilities and a round barrel area underneath. Aging is done in two underground tunnels that have been excavated in the rock.
Unlike the Imperial range, which only includes a Reserva and a Gran Reserva, Viña Real makes bottlings for every Rioja aging indicative (Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva). The percentage of Tempranillo is higher (between 90-95%) with small quantities of Garnacha used for blends, except in the Gran Reserva. Prices are more affordable too: around 6-7€ in Spain for Crianza, 12-13€ for Reserva and 23-25€ for Gran Reserva. The winery also markets a barrel fermented white made from Viura and Pagos de Viña Real (60€), a modern style red made from 40+ year old vines planted around the winery. It is the equivalent of Real de Asúa at Cvne.
Both Crianza and Reserva offer good value for money whereas the Gran Reserva has significant aging potential. The evolution along the years of old vintages of Viña Real Gran Reserva (1962 is a good example) can match (and sometimes overtake) the legendary longevity of the always refined Imperial Gran Reserva.
Viña Real's tourist offer is almost identical to Cvne's. An additional bonus for brides and grooms-to-be is that this spectacular Rioja winery offers the chance to host weddings.