B-21 Top Recommendation
In 1890, while phylloxera was ravaging the vineyards of Bordeaux, five of the most important vineyard owners in Spain joined forces to create one inclusive Bodega. One of La Rioja Alta's founding members, Daniel Alfredo Ardanza y Sánchez merged his vineyards with the Bodega in 1904, a move commemorated by the cuvee 904, and one which brought a bevy of premium vineyards from the Rioja Alta district to the company. By the 1940s, La Rioja Alta SA was formed, Señor Ardanza's contribution to the organization formally recognized.
In addition to the Cuvee 904, Señor Ardanza's importance to the company is recognized by what many consider the most classic – yet modern – cuvee in the stable; the Viña Ardanza. Estate grown Tempranillo grapes from decades-old parcels in the Finca La Cuesta as well as Montecillo vineyards near Cenicero (among LRA's oldest estate-owned vineyards) and head-pruned Garnacha from La Pedriza in Tudelilla (another of LRA's oldest parcels, perched at 2,000 feet elevation) come together in perfect vintages to produce Viña Ardanza. Traditional to the core – aged according to LRA's exacting standards – it's the Garnacha and a slight nod to modernity which give this stunning value its unique place among LRA's cuvees.
The 2012 is drinking beautifully; a hedonistic pleasure. I prefer it to the 2010 at the moment, but the 2010 is all about endurance. 2012 is about now, and it's always now.