Case of La Rioja Alta ‘Viña Ardanza’ Reserva ‘Seleccion Especial’ 2010 (12 bottle case)

Seleccion Especial.jpg
Seleccion Especial.jpg

Case of La Rioja Alta ‘Viña Ardanza’ Reserva ‘Seleccion Especial’ 2010 (12 bottle case)


For the first time in 18 years and for only the fourth time in its history, La Rioja’s ‘Vina Ardanza’ has been declared as a ‘Seleccion Especial’, a term that is hard to pin down precisely, but translates very loosely as a ‘Special Selection’. It only happens when all the key elements of a vintage align (as they did in 1964, 1973 and 2001) and the winemaker is satisfied that his work in the cellar has risen to meet the challenge of the year in the vineyard. Julio Sáenz, head winemaker at La Rioja Alta, described the 2010 vintage as “spectacular” and he can be very proud of his achievement in coaxing everything out of the bounty that was harvested, it’s a beautiful, beautiful wine and, given the price, it should be filed under ‘unmissable’.

It spent 3 full years ageing in American oak barrels, which allowed the ingress of a slow and steady amount of oxygen, softening and mellowing the wine until its youthful tannins were resolved while absorbing those wonderful flavours that merge with the Tempranillo to give that unique ‘Riserva’ character of wood-panelled rooms, warm chestnuts, autumnal puddings (plum duff!) and coconut cream. They still rack the wine under candlelight and allow it to rest in bottle for 5 years before release. It’s ready to drink straight away, but will last at least fifteen years if not twenty – something that can’t be said for very many wines at this price.  

Press Reviews:

The Wine Advocate:
“2010 was a great vintage in Rioja in general and seems to be exceptional here, with a 2010 Viña Ardanza Selección Especial (what used to be Reserva Especial) that can challenge any of the recent vintages and hopefully can develop in bottle to reach the heights of years like 1973 or 1964. The wine is expressive, aromatic, very elegant and clean, with classical Rioja aromas of long aging in barrel and slow oxidation through the years in wood. The palate is polished and sleek but shows plenty of energy, with very fine, mostly resolved tannins and very good harmony and persistence. There is great complexity, and you could start smelling spice and smoke to move to earthy tones, hints of beef blood, cherries in liqueur, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. A great Viña Ardanza! Drink now-2035.” 95 points

James Suckling: “Dried cherries, cedar, sandalwood, tar, treacle tart, cinnamon and vanilla. Medium body, fine-grained and very silky tannins for a wine of almost 10 years of age, bright and transparent acidity and a long, very spicy finish. Like going back in time and touching an ornate tapestry. The texture is mesmerizing.” 96 points

Viña Ardanza 2010 is a blend of 80% Tempranillo from the La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards in the Rioja Alta subregion, and 20% Garnacha from La Perdriza in Rioja Oriental. The Garnacha is the key to Ardanza’s structure, aromatics, and concentration: these vines are actually higher in altitude than most of the Rioja Alta subzone, and sit on barren, free-draining soils made up with large pudding-stones similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The two varieties are harvested and vinified separately, ageing around three years in American oak barrels which are produced in-house by La Rioja Alta’s own coopers.

This is a pre-arrival offer. The wine will arrive in January 2020.

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