We have long admired the incredible quality and consistency, as well as remarkable value, of the wines of La Rioja Alta. But we do not religiously offer them, reserving our endorsement for wines that really stand out even within their own excellent portfolio. Their 2001 Reserva Especial was one such wine which was a sublime expression in an exceptional vintage. It looks like they have done something similar with this, a 2010 Selección Especial, indeed they themselves feel so strongly about its success in another exceptional vintage that they have created a description to supersede the Reserva Especial of the 2001 bottling (see Martin’s note below).
The wines of La Rioja Alta rarely disappoint and they do not make such upgrades lightly, this being only the fourth such Ardanza in 77 years.
2010 Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva Selección Especial, La Rioja Alta
£210 per 12 bottle case in bond
Neal Martin, vinous.com, 96 points, September 2020
The 2010 Viña Ardanza Selección Especial Rioja Reserva is an absolute blinder. The blend comprises 80% Tempranillo from the La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards and 20% Grenache from the La Pedriza vineyard in Rioja Baja. It was picked mid-October, aged for 36 months in four-year-old American oak (six months less for the Grenache) and bottled in 2015. It was so highly regarded by the team at La Rioja Alta that they deemed it “Selección Especial” instead of “Reserva Especial.” The bouquet is like an old friend inviting you into their home. Crushed strawberry, leather and a touch of game are all beautifully defined, and after an hour the nose became increasingly Burgundy in style. That Burgundy theme translates across to a palate that is supremely well balanced and so harmonious that it was almost too easy to drink. There are hints of chestnut and shavings of black truffle on a finish that fans out gently. This is a finely crafted and irresistible Rioja Reserva from one of the region’s best producers, and frankly, I will not taste a bottle that represents better value for money than this: cases of 12 at just over £200 in bond. Drink 2020-2040
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