La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2016  £35.46

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La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2016

Only produced in very good to excellent rated years, Vina Ardanza is the flagship Reserva from the estate. 

2016 was an excellent vintage, with wines that stand out for their depth and persistence. Bud break occurred on the regular dates, with moderate rainfall in the spring and evenly distributed throughout the growing season. Despite the drought and high summer temperatures, the acidity of the wines is balanced with the alcohol. They also have high aromatic intensity and quality as well as perfectly ripe tannins, resulting in a smooth and round mouthfeel.

The Tempranillo (80%) comes from the La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. Both are over 30 years old and their soils are predominantly clay-limestone. The Garnacha grapes (20%) come from a 70-ha vineyard with deep rocky soils at 500 m elevation in Tudelilla (Rioja Oriental). Known as La Pedriza, the site has outstanding conditions to grow this variety. Manual picking of the grapes in these plots began at the end of September. Once harvested, the bunches were placed in 20 kg boxes and transported to the winery in refrigerated vehicles. After passing through the optical selection tables, only perfectly ripe grapes were included in the blend. Once fermentation was completed, the selected wines were transferred to barrels in February 2017 and aged separately: 36 months in four-year-old American oak barrels for the Tempranillo, with six manual rackings; and 30 months for the Garnacha, with five manual rackings, in barrels that had previously contained two to three wines. The final blend was bottled in June 2020.

Intense garnet red colour, with a clear rim. Outstanding aromatic intensity on the nose, with spicy and balsamic liquorice, clove, nutmeg and black pepper notes, enveloping a subtle hint of ripe red fruit: brandied cherry and raspberry jam. The palate is well balanced, fresh, with a broad range of flavours and soft, round tannins, leading to a spicy, balsam-like aftertaste on the finish. A Viña Ardanza in its prime and with a long life ahead of it. 

Main courses, all kinds of meats, stews and desserts with chocolate toppings. Ideal as an after-dinner drink.

2016 Vintage - 94+ Points RP

The 2016 Viña Ardanza Reserva was produced with 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha that matured in used American oak barrels for three years, where it was hand-racked from barrel to barrel six times in the case of Tempranillo and five times for the Garnacha, as it had a slightly shorter élevage of 30 months. Against all odds, I found the 2016 to be fresher than the 2015 and less developed, despite the fact that winemaker Julio Sáenz told me he considers it a warmer year. But I have found many wines I like in 2016, and the wine feels very clean and quite harmonious, younger and less developed, with more primary notes and a velvety mouthfeel. 600,000 bottles produced. The wine was bottled in June 2020.

Luiz Gutierrez

2015 Vintage - 94 Points RP

2012 Vintage - 94 Points RP

2010 Vintage - 95 Points RP


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