2001 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2001 Gran Reserva 904 will not be released for another 3 years. Dark ruby-colored with a garnet rim, it displays a lovely nose of Asian spices, incense, tobacco, balsamic, and blackberry. On the palate it has exceptional depth, layers of spicy black fruit, excellent ripeness, and an elegant personality. Upon release it should continue to evolve for another 5-6 years and drink well through 2040. (JM)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby. Complex, highly perfumed scents of dark berry compote, cherry pit, pipe tobacco and vanilla. Smoky, sweet and focused, offering vibrant black raspberry, bitter cherry and vanilla bean flavors that gain power with air. This doesn't act like a 12-year-old wine! Finishes smooth and very long, with lingering sweetness and gentle, fine-grained tannins.
The alluring aromas of vanilla, lilac and cedar give way to berry, vanilla and tobacco flavors in this expressive red. Features a supple texture, with firm underlying tannins, while balsamic acidity lends a spicy note to the finish. Drink now.
Many folks are very much aware of the La Rioja Alta "Viņa Ardanza" bottling, whose 2001 vintage has been one of the most popular Riojas we have ever sold. In contrast to the Ardanza, the "904" contains Tempranillo and Graciano (no Garnacha) and is every bit as traditional with aging in used American oak barrels for 48 months, racking twice a year, and then further aging in bottle. The wine always has a sumptuous, velvety texture, with more bass notes in place of Ardanza's higher toned, red fruited profile, and a lovely, meaty savor to the wine. In a vintage as strong as 2001, La Rioja Alta's "904" will surely make for old bones, and only get better and better for those disciplined few who have the will power to lay off their bottles for a while! (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer)