2001 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904
berry , cherry , plum , earth , leather , herb, black berry, black cherry, tobacco and tar
berry , cherry , plum , earth , leather , herb, black berry, black cherry, tobacco, tar and flower
"Heady and rich. Gamey then dry. Very vibrant with strawberry fruit. Drink from 2011 to 2020. -JR" (07/13) - 17 out of 20 Points, Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages.
"La Rioja Alta has been producing wine at the bodega in Haro's Barrio de la Estacion since 1890, and the quality and consistency of their output over that time has earned them many devotees among the wine cognoscenti. Their reputation really exploded, however, with the release of the 2001 Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial in the early part of 2011. That wine was not only many people's first experience with La Rioja Alta, it was many people's first experience with classic Rioja. 2001 was a vintage that flirted with disaster. All manner of potentially ruinous weather conditions befell the region, including an April frost, inordinate heat, a lengthy drought and, possibly most troubling of all, torrential rainstorms towards the end of the growing season. What didn’t kill the vintage, however, made it stronger, prompting some of the preeminent winemakers in the region to classify 2001 as una cosecha para la historia, a historic harvest. The wines from 2001 are dark-hued and concentrated, with spectacular aromatic complexity. The closest analogue is 1964, a vintage so profound that many doubted they would ever see its equal.
The name 904 refers to 1904, the year when La Rioja Alta merged with Bodegas Ardanza to create the company that still exists to this day. It is composed of 90% Tempranillo from forty-plus-year-old vines in the communes of Brinas, Labastida and Villalba, and 10% Graciano from the Melchoron I and Melchoron II vineyards in Briones and Rodezno, respectively.
After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in tank, the wine was transferred to four-year-old American oak barrels. It stayed in barrel from February of 2002 until May of 2006 with barrel-to-barrel racking every six months. It was bottled in June of 2006 and has been quietly maturing in the bodega's cellars for the last six and a half years." - Importer