2010 La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva #904

Year: 2010
Appellation: Rioja
Country: Spain
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 96+
James Suckling: 98
Tim Atkin: 97
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$59.95

JAMES SUCKLING TOP 100 WINES OF 2019: #65

"This light, polished red offers woodsy flavors of forest floor and loamy earth, with a core of cherry and berry fruit and vanilla and spice accents. Graceful and harmonious. Tempranillo and Graciano. Drink now through 2030. 12,500 cases made. -TM" (WS)

"It seems like yesterday when the superb 2001 was released, and now I already have the 2010 Gran Reserva 904 in my glass. It has to be among the greatest modern time vintages of this mythical bottling, where they aim for a wine that has a long aging potential. This is mostly Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 13.5% alcohol, and it matured in fourth-used American oak barrels for four years, during which time the wine was racked every six months. It has the combination of elegance and power only the best vintages are capable of, with the classical aromas, great detail and nuance, very good balance and persistence. They consider 2010 among the best years of this century, and maybe future generations will talk about 2010 like we talk about the great classical vintages of yesterday today. The palate is polished but shows plenty of energy and tension, the tannins are very fine and elegant, and the flavors are focused and clean. This has to be one of the greatest wines from the vintage. A legend in the making. 150,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2015.

La Rioja Alta, one of the classical wineries in the Barrio de la Estación in Haro, has started converting ten hectares of their vineyard to organic farming, which is a welcomed move. But it's only a small step that I hope they continue and accelerate, as they own some 420 hectares of vineyards that are the only source for their approximately 1.4 million bottles. The wines are classical Rioja, with plenty of spicy oak, very recognizable. They are currently releasing wines from some very good vintages, like 2010 and 2005." (WA)

"Fresh blueberries and brambleberries take center stage, which is striking for a wine of this age. There are also lots of roasted herbs, such as sage, not to mention floral elements, including lavender and dried violets. Then come cedar, sandalwood and tar. The tannins are incredibly round and soft, without the slightest hint of anything dry. This is among the most elegant of Riojas, where the acidity is wonderfully pronounced and cuts right through any touch of dried fruit. Long and powerful, yet subtle on the finish. Drink now, or hold for a very long time." (JS)

Winery Notes:
Vintage:
Winter water reserves enabled the grapes to reach the end of the cycle in a balanced condition, despite significant heat and drought during the summer. Rain in mid September slowed down grape ripening, resulting in good alcoholic and phenolic balance. It was a decisive turning point, producing a high-quality vintage as, after that, we enjoyed favourable weather that made this Gran Reserva possible.

Vineyards:
Tempranillo (90%) and Graciano (10%) from vines over 60 years old in vineyards in Briñas, Labastida and Villalba.

Winemaking and Ageing:
The grapes were collected in boxes and transported to the winery in refrigerated vehicles to preserve all their integrity. After gentle destemming and crushing, the musts were put in stainless steel tanks where they underwent alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature for 17 days. Batches were selected and allowed to complete malolactic fermentation naturally over 78 days. In April 2010, the wine was transferred to 4-year-old American oak barrels (made in-house), where it stayed until April 2014. During ageing, the wine was racked every six months using traditional barrel-to-barrel methods. The final blend was bottled in November 2014.

Tasting:
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.