- La Rioja Alta
- Tempranillo / Garnacha
- Case size
James Suckling, July 2020,
Dried cherries, cedar, sandalwood, tar, treacle tart, cinnamon and vanilla. Medium body, fine-grained and very silky tannins for a wine of almost 10 years of age, bright and transparent acidity and a long, very spicy finish. Like going back in time and touching an ornate tapestry. The texture is mesmerizing.
Jancis Robinson, July 2020,
80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha. Selección Especial is reserved for the very best vintage: only 2001, 1973 and 1964 have so far been so elevated – in which case the price seems rather friendly. Aged in American barriques made in-house, racked by hand and by candlelight every six months. Shaded transparent ruby with shaded rust-coloured rim. Warm, gentle nose that 's like a cocktail of strawberries, cream and subtle vanilla. Pure traditional rioja that's already giving pleasure but, on the basis of past performance, this is only at the start of a glorious life. Just the right mix of broad, ripe fruit and subtle refreshment. So clean! Dry, refreshing finish. Good Value.
Luis Gutierrez, July 2020,
2010 was a great vintage in Rioja in general and seems to be exceptional here, with a 2010 Viña Ardanza Selección Especial (what used to be Reserva Especial) that can challenge any of the recent vintages and hopefully can develop in bottle to reach the heights of years like 1973 or 1964. The wine is expressive, aromatic, very elegant and clean, with classical Rioja aromas of long aging in barrel and slow oxidation through the years in wood. The palate is polished and sleek but shows plenty of energy, with very fine, mostly resolved tannins and very good harmony and persistence. There is great complexity, and you could start smelling spice and smoke to move to earthy tones, hints of beef blood, cherries in liqueur, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. A great Viña Ardanza!
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.