2009 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja

SKU #1291972 96 points James Suckling

 This is a powerful and rich red with black truffle and blueberry character. Sweet tobacco, too. Full body, tannic and flavorful. Yet open and polished. Fantastic finish. Great ageing potential. Drink or hold.  (7/2016)

K&L Notes

Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is arguably the traditional Rioja bodega whose wines are most consistent, readily available, the most time and time again delicious.This is a tough to find bottling from La Rioja Alta. It consists of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo. Wonderfully classic, with lovely fruit, some subtle earthy notes, and a more restrained, traditional style. This wine will surely age well for another decade or more. Arana, it is worth noting, is also a favorite amongst many of the crew over at La Rioja Alta.

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Price: $27.99
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Staff Image By: Blake Conklin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/7/2017 | Send Email
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What a marvelous Rioja at a great price. I'll admit, I don't drink a lot of Rioja's usually, and this one specifically is a great introduction. With 8 years of age currently, this Rioja is smooth, slightly fruit forward, and overall a nice drinking experience.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/20/2017 | Send Email
I am definitely a fan of this winery and was excited to get to taste a new one (for me) from La Rioja Alta and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This is one of those bottles that helps to showcase why I like Rioja as a region so much. Bright red fruit notes with plenty of earthy notes. Alternating sweet and savory notes with a lovely mouth feel, I was fortunate to taste this a day after it had been opened and it was screaming good.

Staff Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/18/2017 | Send Email
This bottling of Viña Arana is mostly Tempranillo with just a touch of Mazuelo (~5%). I was struck by the rustic nature of this wine. Aromas of hard cheeses, incense, clove, and cinnamon. There is a noted umami characteristic to the wine as well. Strawberries and red cherries are followed by orange peel, hard cheese, and a hint of Portobello mushroom. Ample tannins and a fresh, bright acidity throughout. Drinking fantastic now, it also can further improve with prolonged cellaring (aging potential is high with this bottling). Perfect with grilled meat or assortment of aged cheeses

Staff Image By: David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/18/2017 | Send Email
The Vina Arana is the type of wine that launches a lifetime of interest in Spanish wine, mainly because it's so damn good and so splendidly affordable at the same time. I fell into Rioja in my mid-twenties because it was the only category it seemed where the top wines were in reach of my elementary school teacher salary. The 2009 Vina Arana from La Rioja Alta is like a flashback to that time in my life: you get the benefit of some bottle age that has softened the wine over the last eight years, creating a silky and soft fruited palate that glides over the tongue. There is fruit, but there is also just a bit of sandlewood and savory notes--enough to entice you even further. In short, it's a wine of simple deliciousness and yet utter complexity. Best of all, you get both of those qualities for less than thirty bucks. You can feel like you're splurging here for a very modest price.

Staff Image By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/18/2017 | Send Email
As delicious as the "904" bottling is from La Rioja Alta, the Vina Arana gives you plenty of traditional Rioja character, as well as a very good representation of house style, at one of the most consistent, and certainly one of my favorite, Spanish wineries in La Rioja Alta. Quite frankly, I could drink a bottle of this myself, particularly with a mixed plate of cured chorizo, cheeses and bread. It is the archetypal, traditional Rioja, showing off fresh and dried fruits, dried orange peel and pipe tobacco on the nose. Bien clasico! This leads to a palate that is bang on Rioja: supple, slightly savory, fruity, yet dry with balanced acidity. I should also add that it is mellow and more-ish, two key descriptors of the kind of Rioja I love to drink. While the nose shows some lovely development, on the palate the fruit shows admirable poise and freshness, as well as surprising volume and depth for an under $25 wine. It is no surprise that this is the wine of choice amongst the team of coopers, cellar and vineyard workers at La Rioja Alta! One of my absolute favorite reds in the shop right now, this wine is for drinking in quantity (quick pro tip: like the other wines in this stable, the Arana will also age a while!)

Staff Image By: Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/18/2017 | Send Email
Earthier and denser than the Vina Alberdi, the Vina Arana cries out from the forest floor. It has the wet earth tones of healthy soil blended beautifully with boysenberry and olallieberry sweetness. Fresh cut cedar adds a spicy intrigue on the long and vibrant finish. This is a textbook example of Rioja value.

Additional Information:



- 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.


- 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.


Alcohol Content (%): 13