2004 La Rioja Alta "890" Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1242517 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* Lightly rusty in color, this outstanding gran reserva is just now entering its golden years, which should endure for another two decades or so. Aromas of raisin, malt, tobacco and cedar are beautiful. This is tight and sinewy in feel, with rooty, creamy, classic Rioja flavors of vanilla, tobacco and dried red fruits. A lasting, stout finish isn't breaking down at all. (MS)  (4/2016)

94 points James Suckling

 Slightly dusty nose here showing ripe strawberries with savory and herbal undertones. Medium body, very silky tannins and a long and fruity finish. Beautiful length and finesse. The real deal.  (12/2016)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2004 Gran Reserva 890 is the top of the range here, a wine that is only released three/four times per decade in exceptional years. They start by sourcing grapes from their oldest vineyards and going through a slow process of aging the wine in American oak barrels for six years, with ten manual rackings, and each time there is a selection of only the best barrels. The bottled wine is 13.5% alcohol with a remarkably low pH (3.0) that to me means 'quality' of the acidity, which is a healthy six grams per liter (in tartaric). The nose is all about forest floor aromas, game, cigar ash, incense, old furniture and some smoked meat. The palate shows what the technical data was hinting--very fresh with slightly dusty tannins and nice acidity. It's polished, but feels livelier than some older vintages. (LG)  (8/2016)

94 points Wine Spectator

 *Collectibles* Tea, tobacco, cedar and spice notes mingle with deeper licorice, plum and iron flavors in this savory red. The texture is supple and polished, but there's a firm tannic backbone. Focused and harmonious, in the traditional style. (TM)  (12/2016)

93 points Vinous

 Vivid red. The nose displays an array of ripe red fruits, pungent flowers and exotic spices, with vanilla bean and coconut accents building with air. Sweet, broad and luscious, offering intense cherry-vanilla and raspberry liqueur flavors that deepen on the back half. Shows excellent depth as well as finesse, with velvety tannins adding shape to the very long, gripping finish. This suave, seamless Rioja spent six years in American oak barrels. (JR)  (11/2015)

K&L Notes

The Gran Reserva 890 is the longest-aged wine in the excellent La Rioja Alta stable, with an impressive 6 years of aging in barrel followed by extensive aging in bottle. The result is a wine that is dark fruited, savory, and beginning to show tertiary notes, with an irresistible elegance and sense of balance. As far as grapes are concerned, there is 95% Tempranillo from the Rioja Alta village of Briñas (neighboring Haro), and a tiny portion of older-vine Graciano and Mazuelo from Rodezno. This is classic Rioja for drinking now or aging another decade or longer.

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Varietal:

Tempranillo

- 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.
Country:

Spain

- 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.
Sub-Region:

Rioja

Alcohol Content (%): 13