2001 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Especial Rioja

SKU #1069109 97 points James Suckling

 Incredible aromas of flowers such as violets and orange blossom with dark fruits and sweet fruit tea. Full body, very dense and powerful yet polished and refined. Dried fruits with praline and pie crust. Unique wine that everyone should try once, if possible. Very balanced. Drink now.  (7/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2001 Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha from their vineyards in Fuenmayor and Rioja Baja respectively and it represents only the third vintage to be declared after 1964 and 1973. Aged in American cask for 36 months, it has a bucolic, natural bouquet of bright red cherries, balsamic, mint and a touch of dried honey all with superb delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with wonderful delineation and supple, lithe tannins. The acidity is very well judged and it leads to a pert, tense finish of bitter cherry, loganberry and licorice. This is an outstanding wine drinking perfectly now, but it should age effortlessly. Drink now-2030. (NM)  (8/2012)

Jancis Robinson

 A lovely mature wine. Lively ruby. Juicy and round and a bit wild and furry but this is Rioja! Nervy too. Briary and broad. Almost blowsy. 17/20 Points (JR)  (11/2012)

K&L Notes

La Rioja Alta makes some of the very finest wines in all of the region: Arana Reserva, Gran Reserva 904, Gran Reserva 890. It has always been the Ardanza, though, which I've enjoyed the most. It is consistent, always elegant, and just a terrifically balanced, classic Rioja. In the very best vintages, La Rioja Alta designates Ardanza as a "Reserva Especial"; this has only happened two other times, in 1964 and 1973. I have not had the '64, but I did recently taste the '73 and it was superb. Yep, this is a $30 wine which ages gracefully for more than three decades. An incredible wine, and in a time where there is no shortage of wine or deals, this is the real deal, and a genuine bargain. (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

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Staff Image By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/3/2013 | Send Email
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It's hard to say enough about this wine. Beautifully clear and expressive Rioja that should cost twice this much. I keep drinking the bottles I bring home intending to age because it is just so incredibly alluring right now. I'll have to lock some up to make sure I get to see this beauty when it's mature, because it will only get better from here.
Drink from 2013 to 2030

Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/24/2013 | Send Email
This is classic, balanced, real Rioja. The folks at La Rioja Alta are selling their 2001 Reserva at the same time Muga is releasing a 2005 Gran Reserva and it boggles my mind how large their cellar must be in order to hold so many harvests for so long! Cinnamon and I had this at home with some pork tenderloin medallions with a pepper and black truffle sauce that I made, and the wine went perfectly. Treat this $30 bottle like it was $100- it deserves the respect. If you like spicy, complex, old world red with seamless texture and lots of complexity, don't miss this fine bottle!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2031

Staff Image By: Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/30/2012 | Send Email
Quite possibly the best value in a Spanish wine we sell. 2001 was the best vintage in Rioja since 1995, and we have not seen its equal since. The 2001 Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial from La Rioja Alta embodies the very best winemaking traditions in the region as well as the extraordinary character of this vintage. Bright, wild berry fruits nicely accented by notes of coconut and cinnamon, tobacco and leather. Enjoy this with grilled lamb or your favorite paella recipe.

Staff Image By: Illya Haase | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/3/2011 | Send Email
Just Outstanding! No wonder it keeps selling out. This is only the third vintage of Vina Ardanza to reach the "Reserva Especial" level through La Rioja Alta's 120 year history, following the great Rioja vintages of 1964 and 1973. It is drinking just beautifully right now. But, if you wait to open it in the next ten years, you, my friend, are in for a treat!

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- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.


Alcohol Content (%): 13