2008 La Rioja Alta Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva

Year: 2008
Appellation: Rioja
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 90
Wine Advocate: 93
James Suckling: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$29.95

"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. 50,000 cases made.–TM " (WS)

"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. No less than 600,000 bottles are produced. I tasted from a bottle from March 2013.

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. Vintages seem to be going fast and if the last time (16 months ago) I reviewed the 2001 vintage from their top wine, they are already showing the 2004." (WA)

"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." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Vintage:
The vintage was characterised by high grape quality accompanied by very moderate production. Thanks to exceptional weather throughout the growing cycle, the grapes remained in magnificent condition. Our grapes evolved optimally with well-balanced figures for alcohol content and acidity. The Garnacha in La Pedriza estate particularly benefited from the longer ripening phase. To this we should add the staggered, selective harvesting, which allowed us to pick each plot as the grapes attained the perfect level of ripeness.

Vineyards:
The Tempranillo grapes (80%) come from our 30-year-old La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards, located in Fuenmayor y Cenicero. For the first time in the blend of this brand, the Garnacha (20%) comes from La Pedriza vineyard in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja) at an altitude of 550 m above sea level. This 67 hectare property offers unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. Its nutrient-poor soil, covered with boulders, results in low grape yields (less than 5000 kg/ha) and significant varietal typicity, rich in aromas, with a pleasant, elegant structure.

Winemaking and Ageing:
We started picking these plots in mid-October. The grapes were harvested manually and transported in refrigerated trucks to the winery. Alcoholic fermentation took place naturally, at controlled temperatures. Malolactic fermentation concluded at the end of the year. In March 2009, the selected wines were put in barrels to start ageing separately: the Tempranillo for 36 months with six manual rackings in American oak barrels averaging 4 years in age and the Garnacha for 30 months with five manual rackings in American oak barrels with two and three wines. The final blend took place after barrel ageing was completed. The wine was bottled in 2013.

Tasting:
Outstanding dark-cherry red; intense, bright and clean. The first impression on the nose is of great freshness provided by notes of cherries and blackcurrants knit with notes of black pepper, tobacco, nutmeg, coffee, caramel and vanilla from barrel ageing. Pleasant entry. Tasty, with a soft freshness, nice structure, balanced acidity and fine, elegant tannins. Silky finish, with a lovely aftertaste, where liqueur-like notes of blackcurrants intermingle with toasty notes and sweet spices turning this especial edition of Viña Ardanza into a fine, elegant wine.

Pairing:
The ideal partner for roasted and grilled meats, barbecues, poultry and game, Iberian ham and sausages, as well as semi-cured cheeses.