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La Rioja Alta Rioja 904 Gran Reserva 2001

La Rioja Alta S.A. 2001 Gran Reserva 904

On the 10th of July 1890, five Basque and Rioja families shared their passion for wine and founded “Sociedad Vinicola De La Rioja Alta” in what is known as the Haro Station District.  La Rioja Alta, S.A.  That day was the start of an ongoing searching for excellence that their descendants still pursue today.  The company changed its name to “LA RIOJA ALTA” in 1891, and in 1941 the company took on its present name, LA RIOJA ALTA, S.A.  A year later, chairman of the board, Leandro Ardanza Angulo, the renowned brand name, “Viña Ardanza”, was registered.

To give you a little taste of the town of Haro, in the La Rioja region of northern Spain, every year on June 29th, the day of the patron saint San Pedro, the Haro Wine Festival is held. The festival involves wine drinking competitions and contests and a Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine) where wines are poured at each other from buckets, squirt guns, or any other device that sprays.  You start off wearing a white shirt and it is red when the battle is over.  The Town of Haro provides all the wine.  Check out the Haro Wine Festival link.

Opening a bottle, I decanted it and let it sit for 45 minutes. The wine is comprised of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano grapes from the vineyards in Briones and Rodenzo.  The 2001 growing season was excellent and produced grape clusters with small berries and a good “skin to pulp” ration.  Pouring a glass, the color was a clean and intense deep vivid ruby red with aromas of dark berries and cherries, spices, and tobacco with slightly earthy tones, typical for a Rioja.  The taste did not disappoint, the wine was silky smooth with layers of flavors, dark fruit, vanilla spice, tobacco and slightly floral, very well balanced with supple tannins, mineral notes, a clean structure, and ending with a nice lingering finish.  I cannot say enough about this wine.  If you are able to get your hands on a few bottles, tuck them away as they should be great well beyond 2021.  A true cellar gem for less than $50!