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La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2010 £30.95
La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2010
One of the best vintages in recent years. The reasons why: very favourable weather, vines in excellent condition, both in terms of development and health-wise and very moderate production due to some shatter during flowering. So, very loose, medium-sized clusters with smaller berries than in previous years. This was particularly the case with the Garnacha in Finca La Pedriza, which produced highly aromatic wines thanks to greater varietal expression from this terroir. The official vintage rating was Excellent.
The Tempranillo grapes (80%) come from our 30-year-old La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards, located in Fuenmayor y Cenicero. The Garnacha (20%) comes from La Pedriza vineyard in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja). This 70-hectare property offers unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. Its nutrient-poor soil, covered with boulders, results in low grape yields and significant varietal typicity, rich in aromas, with a pleasant, elegant structure. We started picking in mid-October, manually and transported in refrigerated trucks to the winery.
Alcoholic fermentation took place naturally. Malolactic concluded at the end of the year. In March 2011, 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 May 2015.
Medium-high intensity, garnet–red with a cherry rim. The nose stands out for its fresh, spicy character, with hints of sweet cherries, redcurrants and ripe strawberries assembled with notes of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, mocha and cinnamon. Intense and well-balanced in the mouth, with a soft freshness, nice structure, and delicately elegant tannins. Silky finish, with a good aftertaste, where sweet red fruit and balsamic notes give it a broad ending.
95 Points RobertParker.com
2010 was a great vintage in Rioja in general and seems to be exceptional here, with a 2010 Viña Ardanza Selección Especial (what used to be Reserva Especial) that can challenge any of the recent vintages and hopefully can develop in bottle to reach the heights of years like 1973 or 1964. The wine is expressive, aromatic, very elegant and clean, with classical Rioja aromas of long aging in barrel and slow oxidation through the years in wood. The palate is polished and sleek but shows plenty of energy, with very fine, mostly resolved tannins and very good harmony and persistence. There is great complexity, and you could start smelling spice and smoke to move to earthy tones, hints of beef blood, cherries in liqueur, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. A great Viña Ardanza! They have managed to produce 600,000 bottles of this—and apparently in one single lot. It was bottled in May 2015.