The outstanding La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 is produced only in exceptional years, with this excellent 2004 eclipsed only by the 1964 at this point.
Fifty years on the ’64 is no less than a masterpiece – still singing through its retirement and a fine example of exactly what the 2004 is capable of. With that said, try resisting the urge to drink this over the next few years – as alluring as this 904 is, it will only get better and better for those patient few with the will power to hold on to their bottles for a while.
The wines of La Rioja Alta are often cited as the finest Riojas that can grace your cellar. This 2004 Gran Reserva illustrates why.
96 Points – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:
The 2004 Gran Reserva 904 is Tempranillo from Brinas, Labastida and Villalba balanced with 10% Graciano from Briones and Rodezno. The grapes were fermented and macerated in inox vats for 14 days at 28º C, and malolactic fermentation lasted 28 days. The wine aged for 4 years in used American oak barrels averaging 4 years old, during which time it was manually racked 8 times. 150,000 bottles were filled. This 2004, from a superb vintage shows a beautiful light red color with a brick rim and a superb nose redolent of balsamic woods, spices, leather, well-hung meat, incense and truffles. The light to medium-bodied palate shows fully resolved tannins, great acidity and pure, pungent flavors that linger in the mouth forever and that can only be Rioja. This is a wine to smell over and over again. It might sound like an exaggeration, but this wine is still too young and you should wait a little bit and drink the superb 2001 vintage which should still be available on the market while this one matures in bottle. At this quality level the price is superb especially considering that the wine is being released 10 years after the vintage. Drink 2016-2024.