Bodegas La Rioja Alta, Viña Ardanza Reserva, DOCa Rioja, La Rioja, Spain, 2009
On Rioja and its styles (courtesy The Wine Society)
This wine: lot No. L.096 T-7 67 332, a blend of 80% tempranillo and 20% garnacha, vinified in the traditional style (see link above). A reserva, so minima of 1 year in oak and 2 in bottle before release, though this wine qualifies as a gran reserva ie minima of 2 years in oak and 3 in bottle – but that status is used for the producer’s top cuvees; coated natural cork closure, 13.5% abv, The Wine Society, £19.50 (11/18)
Consumer tasting note: classic traditional Rioja, smooth, black and red fruits and berries, coconut and dark chocolate, highly complex, medium-full bodied, a long finish.
Drink now – RTD, but will keep – Wait. No need to decant, an airing in a large glass will do.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of complex touches of beeswax, steak fat, coconut, vanilla and smoke, leading into thick ripe black cherry with a very slightly high-toned edge, spice, stewed red plum, lightly but richly floral, fragrant raspberry jam, crushed ripe blueberry, black liquorice, tobacco and black vanilla pod, warm red plum juice, blackcurrant boiled sweets, whiff of cedar, and after some time old leather, dried herbs [on day 2 the nose opens with strident desiccated coconut].
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium (+) tannins, medium alcohol, medium (+) body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture, with flavours of black cherry, lighter black berry with a frill of black currant, creamed coconut, vanilla, spice, cedar, black liquorice, beeswax, a touch savoury, dark chocolate, cold stewed red cherry, dried herbs. A long length with a clean black cherry and black currant infused finish, with a moderate grip.
Quality: outstanding, well-balanced fresh(ish) acidity and ripe tannins with alcohol, tannins should round a little more given time; strong intensity throughout with a slightly lesser concentration, showing a high level of complexity from time in very well-integrated oak and in bottle, with a pretty balance of primary fruit, spice and oak extract, with some tertiary development. Finishes soundly long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 3-5 years – lots of character, intensity, concentration, indicative length and fruit to work with. This should continue to evolve nicely, and the tannins round a tad more.