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La Rioja Alta, Gran Reserva 904 2011
Tempranillo 90%, Graciano 10%
Medium-high depth, cherry red with a garnet rim. Very intense in aromas. Complex, with notes of plums and ripe grapes, jam of blackberries and red raspberries that give way to spicy and balsamic notes of tobacco leaves, cedar, liquorice, vanilla, chocolate and ground coffee. Good entry. Fresh and balanced, with polished, silky tannins and a gentle, delicate finish. Long aftertaste, with balsamic notes of coffee and toasted caramel, candied fruits and liquorice.
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 18 days. Batches were selected and allowed to complete malolactic fermentation naturally over 94 days. In March 2011, the wine was transferred to 4-year-old American oak barrels (made in-house), where it stayed until March 2015. During aging, the wine was racked every six months using traditional barrel-tobarrel methods. The final blend was bottled in July 2015.
Few dispute that La Rioja Alta S.A. is the leading quality orientated producer in the Rioja. With more than 50,000 casks and 6.4 million bottles stored at any one time, the equivalent of about 8 years sales, La Rioja Alta S.A. is unique in its ability to supply large quantities of fully mature wines of world class quality. The company owns 300 hectares of vineyards in different parts of the best zones of the Rioja Alta region. La Rioja Alta S.A. is specialized in red wines. The leading grape variety is the Tempranillo with small doses of Mazuelo and Graciano. The Vina Ardanza differs from the other wines with some 25% Garnacha in the blend. After vinification in the new ultra modern vinification plant near Haro, aging is in traditional Bordeaux casks, all made from American oak. Racking is by hand every 6 months with 8 teams working full time racking the 51,000 casks. There is no filtration prior to bottling and further long aging in bottle before release. In short the wines are made in the traditional Rioja manner. The company is adamant about not using French oak, keeping the unique Rioja style which has been developed since the end of the 19th century. In spite of the varying amount of time in cask and bottle the wines all display a wonderful rich ruby colour, gorgeous aromas of oak, spices and fruit followed by a sensational feel on the palate, with a wonderful smooth texture, clean rich oaky/fruity flavours and a long lingering finish. All the wines are ready for consumption on release but will keep for many more years in bottle. This situation is almost unique in the world of wine and is the reason why so many restaurants list La Rioja Alta’s outstanding range of truly classic Rioja wines.