CUNE's Masterworks

In 1879, brothers Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa founded CUNE. One hundred and fifteen years later, in 1994, the winery repaid their vision with a tiny luxury cuvée in their honor, Real de Asúa.

Nicknamed Super-Imperial by Luis Gutiérrez, the cuvée is sourced exclusively from CUNE’s oldest, best-placed Rioja Alta vines. And with no effort or expense spared in its making—and only 250 cases made—Real de Asúa more than fulfills its destiny as CUNE’s summit of Rioja Alta expression. It is CUNE's top wine.

Real Asúa is rarely seen in the United States. But as thanks for our ongoing collaboration, CUNE's managing director Victor Urrutia recently offered us our choice of Real de Asúa vintages direct from the bodega. For us, that was a no-brainer: 2012 and 2015. Our selection was based not just on the excellence of these two years, but because the richly opulent 2015 and the densely structured 2012 represent marvelously different expressions of a noble terroir. 

Nothing Spared
Victor Urrutia’s tenure as CUNE’s managing director began in 2003, and his era has been marked by a surge in quality across the entire range of wines. And the great care taken with every aspect of viticulture and winemaking is clearly evident in Real de Asúa, for which Victor built its own independent vinification facility within CUNE’s historic original Haro winery in 2005.

Real de Asúa is made exclusively from a strict selection of old-vine Tempranillo from CUNE’s greatest Rioja Alta terroir for that variety: the high-altitude, iron rich, clay-limestone marl of Villalba. 

Villalba produces Tempranillo of extraordinary nuance and finesse. And in making the wine, CUNE spares no expense in rendering a complete portrait of this great terroir. A first selection of fruit takes place in the vineyard, followed by a second culling in the Real de Asúa micro-cellar. 

Winemaker Maria Larrea ferments and macerates the grapes in small oak vats for five weeks, for maximum aromatic expression and fine structure. This is followed by eighteen months barrel aging, a relatively short period to capture its phenomenal primary fruit, setting the stage for its marvelous development in bottle. 

From vine to bottle, every aspect of its production is intended to make Real de Asúa one of Rioja’s greatest wines. 

But due to its microscopic production, Real de Asúa is one of the most difficult Riojas to track down, justifying its normal $100 price tag. Passionate about great contemporary Rioja? Consider this a gift.

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