2009 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1356161 97 points James Suckling

 This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine.  (8/2018)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Time flies, and the 904 for sale is already the 2009 Gran Reserva 904, as they didn't bottle it in 2008. They are only going to bottle their top wines in very good and excellent vintages, so there will be a 2010 and 2011 but no 2012, 2013 or 2014. This super classical cuvée showcases the wines from Haro, silky and elegant after long aging in oak and a good future in bottle. 2009 was a powerful vintage, ripe but with good balance. The blend is approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with a 78-day natural malolactic. The aging was in four-year-old American oak barrels crafted by their own coopers; the wines aged from April 2010 until April 2014. During that time, the wine was racked every six months, to be finally bottled in November 2014. This is usually my favorite wine from the portfolio, where the balance between aging and youth reaches its highest point. It's developed but it keeps some fruit character, plenty of spices and balsamic aromas. The palate is polished but has some clout, with clean, focused flavors and a long, spicy and tasty finish. This represents good value for the quality it delivers. 150,000 bottles produced. Because they didn't produce 890 in 2009, the grapes for the 890 were in this 904. As a curiosity, they uncorked a 1982, which was superb. (LG)  (2/2018)

K&L Notes

Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is arguably - amongst the traditional Rioja bodegas - the one whose entire range of wines is the most consistent, the most readily available, and the most delicious. Their "904" bottling contains Tempranillo and Graciano (no Garnacha) and is every bit as traditional. It sees 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. Does Gran Reserva Rioja get any better than this? (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

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Price: $49.99

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Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/25/2018 | Send Email
Just a baby but this wine is starting to hit it's stride. Lovely earthy, brooding red to black fruit. Savory leather notes, exotic spice, red dust, dried leaves. Medium bodied with effortless structure and warming fruit on the mid-palate. The wine becomes more lifted and aromatic with time in the glass...crushed red rose petals, and sandalwood notes emerge. Lots of material here, give it time to emerge and you're sure to be impressed. A potential classic.

Staff Image By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/25/2018 | Send Email
The nose is full of a complex blend of raspberry compote, tobacco, dried lilac and the sweet vanillin accented with hints of dill that the American oak gives it. On the palate the wine is long, sinewy and shows a bit of tannic grit but the wine’s density fleshes it out nicely. Lots of spice, fruit and American oak wrap themselves around the core of this wine giving it a dramatic palate presence. On the finish you see the classic Rioja length and spice more earth and a bit of tannin. This wine will age for a long time and I feel it is reaching form food, maybe some braised suckling pig.
Drink from 2018 to 2034

Staff Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/24/2018 | Send Email
La Rioja Alta does it again with another spectacular offering, this time their ‘904’ bottling from the 2009 vintage. Classic aromas of dried cherries and leather, along with American oak bouquet of dill and vanilla. Great acidity on the palate, with a pleasant balance also between the tannin structure and fruit. Quite well integrated, this wine will continue to improve with cellar time, but at just shy of 10 years old, it is drinking nicely at the moment. A fantastic wine with a variety of food offerings. I would recommend this to go with lamb roast. Pork chops or game bird would be also great pairing options
Drink from 2019 to 2044

Staff Image By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/24/2018 | Send Email
The Gran Reserva 904 is one of the greatest wines of Spain, and always stands on the table proudly next to any wine of the world. The 2009 is a special opportunity, as all of the oldest plots, usually reserved for the 890, have been added into it. This wine is a baby, packed, and concentrated with the vanillian tinged dark tempranillo fruit of youth. It is the kaleidoscopic back end that hints at what it will become in the future with blood orange, leather and earth all flaring out on the finish.
Drink from 2020 to 2059

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/24/2018 | Send Email
LRA's 904 bottling is one of, if not the foremost, traditionally styled Rioja Gran Reserva bottling intended for drinking on release, cellaring for the mid, long, or very long term. 2009 was a very good vintage in Rioja, one that benefitted from winter as well as September rains which enabled balanced yet intensely flavored, aromatic wines following a nicely warm and dry summer growing season. If drinking now, please decant or allow this to briefly open up in the glass: the initially strong barrel notes will give way to more layered and subtle fragrance on the nose, and impeccably pure, effortlessly graceful fruit on the palate. A Rioja you cannot be without!

Staff Image By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/24/2018 | Send Email
I was surprised to see the 2009 904 come into stock already. Then I tasted it and realized it's nearly perfect. At first blush it's upfront vanilla and spice from the 4 years in American oak. Give it a moment and things begin to shift. You progress from dark and ripe tones into a brighter fresher more elegant thing altogether. The acid really makes itself known on the finish, just begging you to pair it with food. A good steak or any braised meat, or especially Jamon Iberico if you can get it. It continues to evolve in the glass flashing mineral intensity, mouthwatering acidity, juicy fruits, and spicy wood in turns and combinations. Like all good Rioja, it will continue this metamorphosis in the cellar and depending on when you're lucky enough to pop the cork you will experience a different iteration of greatness every time.

Additional Information:

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