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New release: 2015 Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta

The latest vintage of La Rioja Alta's ever-popular Viña Ardanza is released today, the superb and accessible 2015.  You might associate that year with rich, generous fruit and fine tannins, based on your knowledge of Bordeaux...and you would be correct. Comparable in quality to the 2010, the 2015 promises to be more approachable and will be ready to enjoy immediately.  Tim Atkin MW and Josh Reynolds both score the vintage 94 points, with terms like lush, spicy, aromatic and intense in their notes evoking the generous nature of the year.

Viña Ardanza 2015 is a blend of 78% Tempranillo from the La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards in the Rioja Alta subregion, and 22% Garnacha from La Perdriza in Rioja Oriental (which used to be known as Rioja Baja). The Garnacha is key to Ardanza’s structure, aromatics, and concentration. The vines are higher in altitude than most in Rioja Alta, on barren, free-draining soils, with large pudding-stones similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The area is perfectly situated to grow the finest Garnacha.

These two varieties are harvested and vinified separately, ageing around three years in American oak barrels which are produced in-house by La Rioja Alta S.A.’s own cooperage. The fruit for Ardanza now goes through optical sorting, a technology which until recently was the preserve of top estates in Bordeaux like Palmer. The two grapes are then matured separately in American oak (Tempranillo 36 months, and the Garnacha for 30 months).

During the maturation, the wine is racked by hand and by candlelight; La Rioja Alta S.A. are one of the handful of producers still to use this traditional technique in Rioja which ensure supple tannins and the savoury flavours that so defines their style. It is also worth noting that the wine is aged long enough to qualify as a Gran Reserva, but as La Rioja Alta already have three Gran Reservas, and in order to keep the wine in this price point, it is labelled as Reserva.

Sadly, the bodega has decided not to offer large formats this year, so you will just have to double (or quadruple!) up on bottles. 

Offered in bond. Available from August and ready to enjoy from late summer and into the autumn months.  

 

La Rioja Alta S.A., Rioja

Producer Profile

La Rioja Alta S.A., Rioja

La Rioja Alta S.A. is the quintessential traditional Rioja Bodega, especially famous for its 890 and 904 Gran Reservas.  Founded by five Rioja producing families in 1890, the Bodega itself is in the heart of Haro, in the station district, close to numerous other famous names, including Bodegas Roda, Muga, López de Heredia (makers of Tondonia) and CVNE.

The bodega's 425 hectares of vines mean that unlike many larger bodegas (who buy in a large proportion of their grapes) they have full control over quality in the vineyards.  Despite being highly traditional (barrels are still racked by hand, by candlelight) one of the mottos of the company is 'Always Evolving'.  As well as having their own cooperage (which uses exclusively American oak, traditional in the region) they also have their own laboratory, conducting endless research to improve winemaking.

The 890 Gran Reserva is named after the first wine made by the bodega, in 1890.  The 904 Gran Reserva commemorates the merger with Vina Ardanza (until then a separate bodega) in 1904.  The Vina Ardanza name itself lives on, as a Reserva wine, one of the bodega's most popular.

RED 2015 La Rioja Alta - Vina Ardanza Reserva 75cl £242 per case of 12 La Rioja Alta
2015 / / 75cl
£242 per case of 12
IB
Tasting Notes"Deep magenta. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe black raspberry, cherry cola, potpourri, tobacco and exotic spices, plus a smoky mineral flourish. Sweet and broad in the mouth, offering lush red and blue fruit, spicecake, mocha and coconut flavors that firm up on the back half. Finishes extremely long and spicy, with resonating florality, gently chewy tannins and lingering oak spice notes. 94 points." Josh Reynolds, Vinous.com------"One of two vintages of Ardanza that are currently on the market, the 2015 is a cuvée of Tempranillo from Fuenmayor and Cenicero and 20% Garnacha from high altitude Tudelilla in the Rioja Oriental. Savoury and aromatic, with a slight animal note, this has raspberry and wild strawberry fruit, scented oak and sweet baking spices. 2021-27. 94 points." Tim Atkin MW

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