Yes, the La Rioja Alta 2004 Viña Ardanza Reserva really is that good! So good in fact, you’ll even want to get this “magnum” 1500 ml size!
It’s well known that the 2004 vintage in Rioja was one of the greatest of all time, it’s unlikely there will be another vintage this good for the next several years at least. It’s also well known that La Rioja Alta is one of the most consistently great producers in the Rioja region. And critics unanimously agree, the 2004 Ardanza is quite simply extraordinary. Many even compare it favorably to the 2001 Ardanza, very impressive considering the 2001 was also widely hailed as being tremendous.
This Ardanza is great for drinking great now and will also age beautifully. An excellent choice with charcoal-grilled meat, roasts, small game, medium-aged cheeses, Iberian cured sausages, etc.
Tasting notes: clean, bright dark-cherry red of medium depth with a pink rim. Notably expressive nose with spicy notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and cloves and fine wood aromas against a background of ripe dark fruit. It’s a well-structured, balanced wine with a lively, enticing freshness that combines with polished tannins to fill the mouth with pleasurable sensations. Long aftertaste, marked by the subtlety of a brand whose traditional elegance, complexity and aromatic power are particularly enriched in this vintage.
94 Points – Wine Spectator:
Cedar, tobacco and spice hints frame dried cherry, berry and vanilla notes in this silky red. The flavors mingle nicely, framed by juicy acidity and light but firm tannins. The wine has a lovely, weightless intensity. A fine example of the traditional style.
93+ Points – Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:
The 2004 Vina Ardanza is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha from 30-year-old vines in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. It is aged for 36 months in four-year-old American oak. It has a very enticing bouquet with dark cherry, Christmas cake, dried fig and espresso with fine delineation and bags of exuberance. The palate is medium-bodied with taut tannins, underpinned by a keen citric thread that cuts through the licorice-tinged, dark berry and allspice-tinged fruit with style. It is simply delicious on the bittersweet finish.
92 Points – Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar:
Vivid ruby-red. Suave, spicy red fruit preserve and potpourri scents are complicated by notes of vanilla, licorice and mocha. Sappy, focused and energetic, offering sweet raspberry and cherry-cola flavors that are given lift by juicy acidity. Impressively pure and penetrating on the finish, which leaves floral pastille and smoky mineral notes behind.