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La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2012 £32.50
La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2012
The superb condition of the grapes was remarkable in view of the unevenness resulting from that year’s drought in the region. Fortunately, their excellent condition and, particularly, the late September rains had a very positive effect on vine development, ensuring very wellbalanced berry ripening. The grapes entered the winery in magnificent condition and excellent balance of alcohol content and polyphenols.
The Tempranillo (78%) comes from 30-year-old vines in the Cuesta (Cenicero) and Montecillo (Fuenmayor) vineyards. The Garnacha (22%) comes from La Pedriza vineyard in Tudelilla (Rioja Oriental). This 70 hectare property offers unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. Its nutrient-poor soil, covered with boulders, results in great varietal typicity, rich in aromas, with a pleasant, elegant structure. Picking started in mid-October. The grapes were harvested manually and transported to the winery in refrigerated vehicles. Alcoholic fermentation took place spontaneously. Malolactic fermentation concluded at the end of the year. In March 2013, 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 barrels with two and three wines. The final blend was bottled in March 2016.
Outstandingly bright, lively and intense garnet red, with an incipient cherry red rim. The first nose is very intense, with spicy, balsamic and ripe fruit notes. After swirling, aromas of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, vanilla and cinnamon make their appearance. Mouth full of flavours, with a pleasant acidity and balance, and very polished tannins that enhance the harmonious structure. Complex and elegant aftertaste with spicy and balsamic hints. To enjoy right now, but with a long life ahead.
Roast lamb, red meats, barbecues, large game, spicy fish casseroles, smoked and aged cheeses.
94 Points RobertParker.com
Garnacha is an important component in the 2012 Viña Ardanza Reserva, where it represents 20% of the blend (the rest is, of course, Tempranillo). 2011 was a difficult vintage for Garnacha, so Viña Ardanza was not produced that year and they jumped from 2010, which had the mention "Selección Especial," to 2012, where it returns to the regular Reserva. The wine is a prototype of polished and aged Rioja with a ruby color with some orange and a developed nose with subtle aromas of decayed leaves, sweet spices and some cherries in liqueur even, quite complex and harmonious. The palate is velvety but rich, with resolved tannins and a fine chalky mouthfeel, sleek and elegant, terribly balanced. The flavors are pure and defined, and there is an overall sense of harmony that I like very much. Brilliant Ardanza! They produced no less than 600,000 bottles of this wine, which is remarkable. It has been in bottle since March 2016, so it's very approachable but should also age nicely in bottle. Drink or keep.