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La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja 2007
94 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (April 2015)
The 2007 Viña Ardanza Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha, the Tempranillo from 30-year-old vineyards La Cuesta and Montecillo in the villages of Fuenmayor and Cenicero, and the Garnacha from old head-pruned vines at 600 meters altitude in Tudelilla, in Rioja Baja, from plots next to their Finca La Pedriza. Those should soon be mature enough to go into the wine (they were planted in 2004 and they will make it into the Ardanza blend from 2007-2008). The grapes are fermented separately with natural yeasts and the Tempranillo then matured in American oak barrels averaging four years old for 36 months, while the Garnacha matured in second- and third-use American oak barrels for 30 months. The nose is very fresh, with notes of beef blood, iron, cherries in liqueur, some subtle leather and spices plus notes of autumn forest and truffles. The palate is more lively and has some tannins that would feel better integrated with some food or a little bit of time in bottle It was bottled in November 2011. This will be released around September/October 2015, so by the time it hits the shelves it will be more polished. Great value for money.
92 points, Vinous (Nov 2015) :
Brilliant red. Lively, oak-spiced raspberry and cherry scents are complemented by candied rose and vanilla, with a smoky mineral topnote providing added lift. Sappy and seamless on the palate, offering juicy red fruit, mocha and coconut flavors plus a suggestion of sweet chewing tobacco. In a graceful, approachable style, finishing with strong, thrust and silky, late-arriving tannins. While this suave Rioja is quite enjoyable now, I'd give it some more time in the cellar so that the American oak is able to integrate with the wine's fruit.
90 points, Wine Enthusiast(Jun 2016):
Dry, leathery, slightly nutty aromas are more earthy than fruity. This mature Rioja is fresh and light on the palate, with leafy, spicy flavors of plum, tobacco and wood grain. Spicy berry and cocoa flavors grace a fading finish.
Jancis Robinson (Feb 2016):
80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha. Produced from fruit exclusively grown in the bodega's 360-ha vineyard holdings in the Rioja Alta region, and named after one of the region's founding families. Intense, rich, many-layered vanilla-and-toast nose. This is one of Majestic’s sure-fire bets. Long may this continue! Classic traditional rich Rioja. Attractive freshness on the finish.
La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja 2008
95 Points Decanter:
The best classic style of Grenache and Tempranillo pulling together joyful fruit expression and serious depth. In the mouth it is amazingly complex and so unique. A benchmark Rioja blend. A rich, sweet and savoury Reserva style with all the red cherries and a strong Grenache influence. It is somewhat old-fashioned, in a good way, with plentiful integrated oak and a fine rasp of tannin. This has a wonderful oxidative style, giving it a superb savoury nose of leather. It is a perfect combination of mellowness versus vigour, and at the same time exudes great finesse.
93 Points James Suckling:
Aromatic nose of dried strawberries and flowers follows through to a full body, soft and velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Opulent and delicious yet refined. Drink now.
93 Points Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate:
Vintages for Viña Ardanza seem to be going fast. It seems like yesterday that the 2001 was released and now the 2008 Viña Ardanza is already here. This is the first vintage when they have been able to use the fruit from their new Garnacha vineyards in the village of Tudelilla (Rioja Baja), La Pedriza, which represents 20% of the blend complementing the majority of Tempranillo. The wine was put in barrel in March 2009, separately; the Tempranillo was in four-year-old barrels for 36 months with six rackings, and the Garnacha in second and third use barrels for 30 months with five rackings. Vintages might go fast, but the wine does not feel too young, which was my fear. There are notes of stewed meat, cured leather, cloves, other spices and an overall balsamic character. The palate feels solid, consistent, nicely built, with abundant tannins and good balancing acidity. This should stand up to food and be able to develop in bottle.
90 Points Wine Spectator:
Cedar, tea and tobacco notes frame the dried cherry, vanilla and orange peel flavors in this traditional red. Offers good depth and lively acidity, with an alluring, spicy finish. An old-school style, compact and balanced. Drink now through 2023.
La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2007
Tempranillo (90%) and Graciano (10%) from vines over 60 years old in vineyards in Briñas, Labastida and Villalba.
97 points James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2016:
Wonderful purity of fruit with a strawberry, currant and plum character. Full and velvety body with ultra-fine tannins and a delicious fresh and fruity finish. Classic Rioja style. Que lindo! Drink now.
95 points Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (226), August 2016:
If Viña Ardanza seems to be going fast, the Gran Reserva 904 is even faster and we're now on the 2007 Gran Reserva 904. This wants to be the classic Gran Reserva--polished, silky and elegant, with aging potential. It is a blend of Tempranillo with 10% Mazuelo aged for four years in well-seasoned American oak barrels, with eight manual rackings. I found that the freshness of the vintage and its relatively young age gave the wine a youngish character that I loved, combining developed notes of meat, spices, leather and balsam with almost cherry-like aromas. The palate feels balanced and elegant, with fine-grained and fully resolved tannins and great acidity. This vintage of 904 surprised me! 150,000 bottles produced.
La Rioja Alta is not resting on their laurels, as they are investing nine million Euros in improving their vineyards and winery, including an optical sorting table.