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
90+/100 Parker's Wine Advocate, Luis Gutierrez (2012 vintage)
“Cropped from an extremely dry year, the 2012 Viña Alberdi was saved by some rains in late September. The aging lasted two years, the first one in new American oak barrels and the second in used ones. It felt livelier than the 2011. This 2012 has some aromas of raw meat, with marked toast from the American oak (all the American oak barrels are built by their own coopers), with a good combination of fruit and spice, tradition and modernity. It's approachable and easy to drink, but a little more time in bottle should polish it even further. 500,000 bottles produced.” Drink 2018 - 2023
90/100 Decanter, Tina Gellie (2012 vintage)
"A beautiful Rioja Reserva from an impeccable producer whose history dates from 1890. It shows maturing, leathery strawberry fruit, deep mocha tones and sweet vanilla oak spice from 24 months in American oak, 50% new. Supple, savoury and meaty, this will develop further."
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