95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, 2% Mazuelo
La Rioja Alta’s history starts along with Rioja’s own early-modern period, when Bordeaux was ravaged by phylloxera and Spain's complex and structured reds jumped into the international market vacuum. It was a group of Basque and Riojan families who in 1890 created the Sociedad Vinícola de La Rioja Alta, which merged with the later-established La Rioja Alta winery in Haro - the heartland of many top Rioja houses, such as Cune and Muga. By remaining faithful to tradition while at the forefront of market practice and technology, La Rioja Alta has not only sustained a pre-eminent Rioja identity but like many of the best companies in Spain has more recently diversified - beyond their acquisition Torre de Ona in Rioja Alavesa - into other promising regions of Spain. In the late 1980s it was decided to abandon the production of white wines at La Rioja Alta, so the Lagar de Cervera winery was established in Galicia, to present mainly Albarino from this cooler Atlantic climate. In 1990 the winery Aster was established in Ribera Del Duero, working mainly with the Tempranillo grape in that hotter, more exclusively Mediterranean climate than Rioja. Today the winery of La Rioja Alta itself is noted for its balance of technology and quality-focus with high productivity, though in stylistic terms they identify themselves as traditional Rioja producers - still seeking structure, complexity and age-worthiness over the easier virtues of plush fruit and drink-young appeal.
What The Critics Say
"Founded in 1890 as a consortium of five families, La Rioja Alta is an integral part of Haro’s Barrio de la Estación district, with its modern winemaking facilities in Labastida. The 890 name stems from the first wine made by the company’s first winemaker, Monsieur Vigier, in 1890. Predominantly Tempranillo with a little Mazuelo and Graciano, aged for six years in American oak, then for a few more years in bottle. Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW: The unmistakable style of classic gran reserva, with its vanilla tones, this is so refined and long, so delicate. Great. Sarah Jane Evans MW: All about truffles and forest floor. Rich and velvety textured with red berries coming through. Confident, superb. Pierre Mansour: The classy nose suggests proper traditional-style Rioja. Complex and savoury yet fresh, round and graceful. Very long." Drink 2018 - 2030
94/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Luis Guttierez
"The top of the range is only produced three or four times per decade, and the current vintage is the 2005 Gran Reserva 890, which refers to the year, 1890, when the winery was created. It all starts by selecting grapes from their oldest vineyards (over 40 years old), harvested into 350-kilogram cases that are transported in refrigerated trucks to the winery, an improvement implemented in 2005. 2005 was an excellent vintage, and this 890 might challenge the exceptional 904 released some four years ago. Here the Tempranillo is complemented by 3% Graciano and 2% Mazuelo, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in 199 oak barrels for six years with ten rackings. It's a very balanced and polished classical Rioja with moderate alcohol (13.5%) and good acidity (6.1 grams of tartaric); it also has a silky texture, resolved tannins and a very pleasant mouthfeel. It has complexity but is a little closed, and it feels a little evolved, at times even a little tired. The fruit feels quite ripe, with some liquor notes. The palate is polished, with fully resolved tannins and fine acidity. It was bottled unfiltered in March 2012. 57,036 bottles and 1,312 magnums were produced. 2001, 2004 and 2005 are the only 890s in the decade. The next one will be the 2010." Drink 2018 - 2025
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If for any reason you are not entirely happy with your order or you suspect that they may be affected by a quality issue, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will remedy the problem straight away. Contact us on 0800 422 767.