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DC95: Now In-Stock, A New Vintage of the Fan Favorite - Ardanza Reserva Rioja - 12/14/2017 - Spain

The new 2008 vintage of the La Rioja Alta Ardanza Reserva has arrived and it is fabulous. Consistently among our top selling Rioja, Viña Ardanza delivers plenty of old world charm while remaining fresh, lively and super appealing. In our many years of carrying Viña Ardanza, it has developed a huge following. This is hardly surprising when you consider its impressive pedigree and more than affordable price. That a wine this good can be had for under $30 still leaves us dumbstruck. The 2008 version counts among the best we’ve had and has earned an impressive 95-point score from Decanter and an equally enthusiastic WA93 mark to back it up. This category defining bottling is drinking beautifully now and will continue to develop for another fifteen to twenty years. Simply put, the team at La Rioja Alta couldn’t have produced a better 75th anniversary bottling. This is a vintage you definitely don’t want to miss out on. Given its strong following, "Viña Ardanza" always sells out, so securing bottles early is always advisable.

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2008 La Rioja Alta "Viña Ardanza" Reserva Rioja ($29.99)

95 points Decanter: "The best classic style of Grenache and Tempranillo pulling together joyful fruit expression and serious depth. In the mouth it is amazingly complex and so unique. A benchmark Rioja blend. SJE: A rich, sweet and savoury Reserva style with all the red cherries and a strong Grenache influence. It is somewhat old-fashioned, in a good way, with plentiful integrated oak and a fine rasp of tannin. PM: This has a wonderful oxidative style, giving it a superb savoury nose of leather. It is a perfect combination of mellowness versus vigour, and at the same time exudes great finesse." (12/2016)

94 points James Suckling: "Aromatic nose of dried strawberries and flowers follows through to a full body, soft and velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Opulent and delicious yet refined." (12/2016)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Vintages for Viña Ardanza seem to be going fast. It seems like yesterday that the 2001 was released and now the 2008 Viña Ardanza is already here. This is the first vintage when they have been able to use the fruit from their new Garnacha vineyards in the village of Tudelilla (Rioja Baja), La Pedriza, which represents 20% of the blend complementing the majority of Tempranillo. The wine was put in barrel in March 2009, separately; the Tempranillo was in four-year-old barrels for 36 months with six rackings, and the Garnacha in second and third use barrels for 30 months with five rackings. Vintages might go fast, but the wine does not feel too young, which was my fear. There are notes of stewed meat, cured leather, cloves, other spices and an overall balsamic character. The palate feels solid, consistent, nicely built, with abundant tannins and good balancing acidity. This should stand up to food and be able to develop in bottle. No less than 600,000 bottles are produced. I tasted from a bottle from March 2013. (LG)" (08/2016)

Jancis Robinson: "80% Tempranillo, 20% GarnachaMushroom, farmyard, milk chocolate and soft red berries. Ever-reliable, with its expert balance of rounded tannin and fresh acid. Lovely liquorice notes to finish. 17+/20 points (RH)" (10/2017)

K&L Notes: La Rioja Alta's Viña Ardanza has been our most popular Rioja for several years. It is no wonder, as this is the gold standard for traditional bodegas: a winery that ages their wines the old fashioned way, meaning three years in barrel with two rackings a year, followed by three years in bottle. According to the winery, the blend is "80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. The Tempranillo grapes come from 30-year-old vines planted in our Viña Ardanza vineyards in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The Garnacha grapes come from old, goblet-pruned vines planted at an altitude of 600 m above sea level in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja), in plots adjacent to our Finca La Pedriza estate."

Staff ImageDiana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 05, 2017

Its hard not to gush about any release from favorite producer La Rioja Alta, but the 2008 "Viña Ardanza" Reserva is especially gorgeous. Cherry fruit, reminiscent of the most classic Tempranillo, shines from the glass immediately, with hints of smoke and heady spice followed by leather notes. Theres lifted acid indicative of the colder vintage and brighter-than-expected red fruit, but this still drinks with all the deeper, old world elegance of serious Rioja. Its both focused and luxurious in texture, and will age beautifully. Perfect for the holidays and well beyond.

Staff ImageIvan Diaz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 30, 2017

The 2008 Ardanza (one of my favorite bottlings from one of my favorite producers) is brighter and leaner than the riper, juicier 2007, and is all the better for it. Dried, sour cherries waft from the glass, mingling with clove-y spices, cedar, tobacco, and that dried, autumn leaf quality I always get from the best Rioja. The medium-bodied palate continues to showcase the lifted, almost tart cherry while revealing more rustic, earthy tones. After almost ten years of ageing before release this is a great wine today, but has potential to age another ten.

Staff ImageAndrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 28, 2017

There is a wonderful freshness to the 2008. The nose is full of ripe cherries, pungent herbs, a little tobacco and spice, but most of all, a clean bright fresh scent. It's almost floral, but I can't place what flowers it would be. There is a great balance of acidity on the palate. It meshes perfectly with the toasty American Oak and notes of baker's chocolate. The body is full, but silky smooth. The tannins are very refined. I'm pleased to drink this bottle now and put a few in the cellar for future aging. A splendid way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Vina Ardanza!

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 28, 2017

The La Rioja Alta wines have been one of the most overlooked values in the entire wine industry since I can remember, and this 2008 Vina Ardanza is yet another example in a long history of great deals. Not only are you getting a serious Rioja for the money, you're also getting a wine with serious bottle evolution and secondary flavors like iron with savory, meaty undertones. This is a lamb or steak wine without question, and it drinks like some of the $100 - $200 bottles of great older Bordeaux vintages I've had in my lifetime, yet for a fraction of the price. We've sold wines like this from La Rioja Alta before, and we'll continue to sell them in the future. I just hope that each time we bring in a wine this good we continue to initiate more drinkers into the fold. It's not your fruit-laden, silk smooth, California Cabernet. This is old world wine with bottle age and complexity. It's exactly the flavor that makes great wine expensive, even though in this case it's shockingly affordable.

Staff ImageJoe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 23, 2017

This bottling of Viña Ardanza marks the first vintage where the Garnacha (20%) was sourced from the La Pedriza vineyard in Rioja Baja. The remaining majority of the blend is composed of Tempranillo (80%) sourced from their 30-year-old La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards. An expressive nose of dark and red cherries, plum, and boysenberry; supplemented with notes of vanilla, clove, leather, and tangerine. The palate possesses well-integrated oak, elevated acidity, and silky tannins. Also has a marked freshness for being almost 10 years old. Dried cherries and mixed berries move into tertiary notes of earth, leather, and a noted vanilla and spice characteristic. An age-worthy Rioja that is showing quite nicely at the moment, but will only get better as time goes on. Can easily go for another 10-20 years in the cellar. All this for under $30? Done!

Staff ImageJoe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: August 08, 2017

One of the new Spanish releases I look most forward to tasting every year is La Rioja Alta's Vina Ardanza. The 2008, celebrating the 75th anniversary of this iconic bottling, is absolutely delicious. In this colder vintage, the red fruit not only seems to have more cut than usual, but more intensity as well. Focused and refined, this bottling is the first featuring Garnacha from La Rioja Alta's Pedriza vineyard, where vines are planted in a bed of pure stones - there is no visible topsoil here. As usual, when this wine is on, we are truly hard pressed to think of a more delicious - or more ageworthy - red in the store for under $50.