Tasting notes: Garnet red, medium-high depth, with an elegant palette. The nose stands out for its power, a highly-complex blend of spicy and balsamic aromas of sweet liquorice, pa- tisserie, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee and nutmeg, and notes of stewed red fruits. Outstanding balance, pleasant freshness and great structure in the mouth, with sup- ple, round tannins. Very pleasant mouthfeel. An ample aftertaste of spicy notes, sweet liquorice and ripe fruit makes Viña Ardanza 2015 a timeless wine, with tremendous laying-down potential and one of the best vintages of the last 20 years.
Producer: Few dispute that La Rioja Alta S.A. is the leading quality orientated producer in the Rioja. With more than 50,000 casks and 6.4 million bottles stored at any one time, the equivalent of about 8 years sales, La Rioja Alta S.A. is unique in its ability to supply large quantities of fully mature wines of world class quality. The Bodega was formed in 1890 as a partnership of 5 quality-conscious growers keen to exploit the export potential for well-made, ‘modern’ Rioja. At this time, French vineyards were ravaged by phylloxera, and connoisseurs were having to look elsewhere for supplies of fine wine. Rioja, with its excellent climate and soils, had already attracted attention, and experiments with Bordeaux-style vinification and barrique-aging were proving very successful. In 1904, La Rioja Alta absorbed Bodegas Ardanza, and gained access to some of the finest vineyards in the Rioja Alta district. The luxury 904 bottling commemorates this important milestone in the company’s development. Since then Rioja has seen more bad times than good, and many producers have harmed the reputation of the region and its production methods, releasing sloppily-aged wines which were never good enough to support a long time in cask. But La Rioja Alta has never let standards slip, and continues to this day the tradition of careful long-aging that gives Rioja its unique character.
Vineyard and Winemaking: The Tempranillo (78%) comes from 30-year-old vines in the Cuesta (Cenicero) and Montecillo (Fuenmayor) vineyards. The Garnacha (22%) is from La Pedriza in Tudelilla, Rioja Oriental, a 40-hectare estate with unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. The grapes were harvested manually and taken in refrigerated vehicles to the winery where, for the first time in the brand’s history, they underwent a rigorous optical selection process, examining each and every berry. Alcoholic fermentation took place naturally and malolactic fermentation concluded at the end of the year. In March 2016, the chosen wines were put in barrels to start aging separately: the Tempranillo, for 36 months, with six manual rackings, in American oak barrels averaging 4 years in age; the Garnacha, for 30 months, with five manual rackings, in American oak barrels with two and three wines. The final blend was bottled in September 2019.
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