2011 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1495763 96 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Lovely dried red fruit, such as plums with just a hint of prunes. Cedar, walnut and leather undertones. Full-bodied with lots of fruit, considering its age, as well as hints of smoke, tobacco, bark and black tea. Some balsamic at the finish. Traditionally styled with lovely results. Inner quote mark (10/2020)

95 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Surely one of the greatest wines in Spain (or anywhere), the 904 is symphonic in scope and structure. For me, the secret lies in the vines (more than 60 years old from the villages of Briñas, Rodillo and Villalba), the 11% of Graciano, which adds acidity and spice, and the 32 months of ageing in American wood. Sweet and savoury notes rejoice together; red and black fruit, velvet generosity and subtle tannic grip; one could go on, but let’s leave that to the wine. (SF) Inner quote mark (11/2021)

95 points John Gilman

Outer quote mark The 2011 vintage of Gran Reserva 904 from La Rioja Alta is a beautiful bottle of Rioja. At ten years of age, it is starting to really arrive at its sweet spot of drinkability, where it will probably remain for the next half century or so! The gorgeous bouquet wafts from the glass in a refined blend of raspberries, red plums, cloves, Cuban cigar wrapper, a complex base of salty soil tones, a hint of celery seed, orange zest, gentle smokiness and a lovely framing of toasted coconut American oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, velvety and vibrant, with a lovely core of fruit, superb complexity and focus, suave, fine-grained tannins and a long, tangy and perfectly balanced finish. This is a fairly ripe vintage of 904, coming in listed at 14.5 percent octane, but it is impeccably balanced and will age forever! Stunning wine. Inner quote mark (1/2021)

94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark I usually prefer the 904 to the 890, but there will be no Gran Reserva 890 until the 2010 vintage (from the last vintage I tasted, 2005). So, the only one of the extended-aging Haro-style reds I tasted this time was the 2011 Gran Reserva 904, which had a hard act to follow after the 2010 vintage. It's a blend of 89% Tempranillo and 11% Graciano matured in American oak barrels for four years, and it was racked eight times from barrel to barrel during its élevage, which sounds a bit harsh for a vintage like 2011 when the wines were not as complete and robust as in 2010. It has the classic profile, aromas and flavors (decayed leaves, tobacco, sweet spices, a meaty touch and some black fruit), but the oak seems to take a more leading role and the palate feels less juicy. It finishes dry. (LG) Inner quote mark (10/2020)

94 points Vinous

Outer quote mark Highly perfumed cherry, blueberry, smoked meat, coconut and floral pastille scents are complemented by a succulent herb nuance that builds as the wine opens up. Juicy and seamless on the palate, offering intense cherry-vanilla, candied rose, cola and mocha flavors sharpened by a late jolt of spiciness. Shows outstanding clarity and penetrating red fruit character on the gently tannic, impressively long, smoky finish, which leaves a repeating floral note behind. (JR) Inner quote mark (4/2021)

94 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark Grand and elegant, in the stubbornly traditional mode of Rioja Alta classicism, this wine has enough air between the layers of plump fruit and oak spice to build generous complexity. Its herbal savor and piquillo-pepper notes keep it earthbound, while the wine’s stamina keeps driving the flavors forward. This has the gracious power to sustain it for seriously long aging. Inner quote mark (12/2020)

92 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark This supple red shows maturity, with forest floor, mushroom and cedar notes framing dried cherry and tea flavors. The silky texture is supported by light tannins and orange peel acidity. Traditional style, balanced and harmonious. (TM) Inner quote mark (12/2020)

K&L Notes

Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is arguably the traditional Rioja bodega 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 at least 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?

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Price: $64.99
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By: Scott Beckerley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/17/2021 | Send Email
As I have said before, I certainly am an admirer of traditionally styled Rioja. The really nice thing about this 904 is that although it certainly leans that way, it also incorporates a deep and almost plush character on the palate. Initially, it had a little "stink", which I mean in an entirely complimentary way, with bright red fruits, subtle oak, minerals, roasted meat, and tobacco. The surprise is on the palate, where it expands broadly with black fruits, baking spices, cocoa and light tannin. Hint of chalk on the finish. This one will be a winner in your cellar.

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