Vina Ardanza La Rioja Alta 2008

There can be little doubt that La Rioja Alta are well deserving of their place within the rarefied top tier of ‘traditional’ producers (which also includes Lopez de Heredia and Muga); they have, for the past few decades, consistently produced wines of incredible concentration, balance and freshness which drink beautifully from release and long into the future. Alongside their legendary 904 and 890 wines, they also produce the remarkable Vina Ardanza Reserva. Remarkable how? Well, it’s impossible to imagine many other producers or regions who could provide juice of this quality, which has undergone a 3-year oak ageing process – followed by even longer in the bottle before release – for under £15 per bottle and £30 per Magnum In Bond. Technically it is a Gran Reserva, proof that La Rioja Alta is setting up its personal quality level way above the AOC requirements. It shares many stylistic and qualitative characteristics with its bigger brothers 904 and 890, but by contrast, this is ready to drink straight from the off. This is good news for the impatient although it does continue to age beautifully for 5-8 more years.

In a nutshell, this is one of the best value wines on the market: benchmark, gorgeous, ready-to-drink Rioja that’s perfect for the coming months… With 94Pts from James Suckling and 93Pts from Luis Gutierrez, this has to be one of the no brainer of the year…

Luis Gutierrez- “The quality is as good as ever.. Great Rioja, as traditional as it gets, in good quantity and moderate (and often plain great) prices.”

Neal Martin- “Quite simply, these are some of the finest Riojas that can grace your cellar”

 

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Tasting Notes and Scores

Wine Advocate
93

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. Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate 226, August 2016

James Suckling
94

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. James Suckling Dec 2016

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