2012 La Rioja Alta Reserva Vina Ardanza (750ml)

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain

B-21 Top Recommendation
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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.


Traditional and beautiful in character with plum, balsamic, orange-peel and leather aromas and flavors. It’s medium-to full-bodied with creamy texture and a long, intense aftertaste. Drink or hold.

95 points, James Suckling (Nov 2020)

Garnacha is an important component in the 2012 Viña Ardanza Reserva, where it represents 20% of the blend (the rest is, of course, Tempranillo). 2011 was a difficult vintage for Garnacha, so Viña Ardanza was not produced that year and they jumped from 2010, which had the mention "Selección Especial," to 2012, where it returns to the regular Reserva. The wine is a prototype of polished and aged Rioja with a ruby color with some orange and a developed nose with subtle aromas of decayed leaves, sweet spices and some cherries in liqueur even, quite complex and harmonious. The palate is velvety but rich, with resolved tannins and a fine chalky mouthfeel, sleek and elegant, terribly balanced. The flavors are pure and defined, and there is an overall sense of harmony that I like very much. Brilliant Ardanza! They produced no less than 600,000 bottles of this wine, which is remarkable. It has been in bottle since March 2016, so it's very approachable but should also age nicely in bottle. Drink or keep.

94 points, Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Issue # 251 - Oct 2020)

Alcohol By Volume: 14.5%
60+ bottles in stock. Ships in 1 to 2 business days.