- La Rioja Alta
- Tempranillo / Mazuelo / Graciano
- 2018 - 2026
- Case size
- Available Now
Tim Atkin, December 2017,
Reflecting the excellence of the vintage, as well as its power, this is the latest in a superb run of 904 Gran Reservas. Combining Tempranillo with 10% Graciano for added backbone and grip, it’s a wine that is (as ever) supremely drinkable on release, but will reward further cellaring. Spicy, aromatic and enticing, with the vanilla sweetness of American oak, savoury tannins and a core of stylish, balsamic-edged fruit. Traditional Rioja with a modern accent.
Producer Note, December 2017
Outstandingly intense cherry-red; clean and bright. The nose reveals a bouquet of great aromatic complexity, with balsamic notes of vanilla, toasted caramel, mint chocolate, tea leaves and cinnamon that gives way to elegant notes of stewed fruits and prunes. Creamy, well-balanced mouthfeel, with a harmonious freshness and smooth, well-tamed tannins that leave an elegant, complex finish.
La Rioja Alta
The estate has recently celebrated its 125th anniversary, and continues its great tradition of top class, beautifully crafted Rioja. The house style is traditional, but with enormous attention to detail; their Gran Reserva 890 and 904 are exquisite examples of superb winemaking. Each new release is readily snapped up.
By the far the best known of Spain's wine regions is Rioja, which takes its name from the rio(river) Oja, a tributary of the river Ebro. Lying in the north of the country, along the Ebro valley, the area is sheltered from rain-bearing Atlantic winds by the dramatic Sierra de Cantabria to the north and west. The hilly vineyards are interspersed with orchards, poplars and eucalyptus trees. Rioja is further divided into three sub-regions - Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. The first two are best regarded, with vines planted on cool slopes with clay and limestone soils. The permitted grape varieties for Rioja are tempranillo, which is grown extensively in Rioja Alta and Alavesa and will form the backbone of all the best wines, garnacha, widespread in Rioja Baja and used to add body to the blend, and mazuelo (carignan) and graciano, both grown in miniscule proportions. The key to understanding Rioja is the technique used to mature the wine. Unlike most other areas of Europe, American oak barrels are used which give the wines their characteristic soft vanilla, almost coconuty flavour. Historically the wines were aged for periods far longer than legally required, until all the fruit character had died down and the end result was a light, tawny-coloured wine dominated by oak flavours. Although there are still supporters of this classic style, far more producers are making wines in a more modern way, allowing the dark berry fruit flavours to burst through balanced by a more judicious use of oak ageing and often opting for French oak now.