80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha
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
95/100 Tim Atkin MW
Ardanza is a classic, pan-regional Rioja, blending Tempranillo from the Rioja Alta with 20% Garnacha from Tudelilla in the Rioja Oriental. It’s a richer, plusher wine than the 2008, reflecting the warmer vintage, but it’s not remotely ponderous. Floral, fine and very complete with fennel and sweet Asian spices, tangy acidity and deftly handled American oak." Drink 2018 - 2026
93+/100 Parker's wine Advocate, Luis Guttierez
"The current vintage of one of the flagship wines from La Rioja Alta is the 2009 Viña Ardanza Reserva, the second year it has contained 20% Garnacha grapes from their estate vineyards in La Pedriza in the village of Tudelilla in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo comes from vineyards averaging 30 years of age in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The hand-harvested bunches were sorted and put in boxes, transferred to the winery at 14 degrees Celsius to be destemmed and crushed, then the grapes fermented in stainless steel, including malolactic. The two varieties were aged separately, 36 months in used American oak barrels for Tempranillo and 30 months for Garnacha, and racked every six months. It was initially closed, shy and serious, riper and a little darker than the 2008 but still very balanced, serious and harmonious. The palate combines power with elegance, with some tannins, focused flavors, some chalky texture and a rustic touch that gives it character. 600,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2014." Drink 2018 - 2034
17/20 JancisRobinson.com, Jancis Robinson
"Deep crimson. Heady sweet and savoury nose with real depth and sweetness. Rewarding. Lip smacking. Rich underneath but with a tobacco leaf twist at the end. not the most intense vintage of this I have tasted. "
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