2004 La Rioja Alta "890" Gran Reserva Rioja
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.
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)
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.