About The Producer
Few dispute that La Rioja Alta S.A. is the leading quality orientated producer in the Rioja. With more than 50,000 casks and 6.4 million bottles stored at any one time, the equivalent of about 8 years sales, La Rioja Alta S.A. is unique in its ability to supply large quantities of fully mature wines of world class quality.
The company owns 300 hectares of vineyards in different parts of the best zones of the Rioja Alta region. La Rioja Alta S.A. is specialized in red wines. The leading grape variety is the Tempranillo with small doses of Mazuelo and Graciano. The Vina Ardanza differs from the other wines with some 25% Garnacha in the blend. After vinification in the new ultra modern vinification plant near Haro, aging is in traditional Bordeaux casks, all made from American oak. Racking is by hand every 6 months with 8 teams working full time racking the 51,000 casks. There is no filtration prior to bottling and further long aging in bottle before release.
In short the wines are made in the traditional Rioja manner. The company is adamant about not using French oak, keeping the unique Rioja style which has been developed since the end of the 19th century. In spite of the varying amount of time in cask and bottle the wines all display a wonderful rich ruby colour, gorgeous aromas of oak, spices and fruit followed by a sensational feel on the palate, with a wonderful smooth texture, clean rich oaky/fruity flavours and a long lingering finish. All the wines are ready for consumption on release but will keep for many more years in bottle. This situation is almost unique in the world of wine and is the reason why so many restaurants list La Rioja Alta’s outstanding range of truly classic Rioja wines.
Overview of the Wine
The superb condition of the grapes was remarkable in view of the unevenness resulting from that year’s drought in the region. Fortunately, their excellent condition and, particularly, the late September rains had a very positive effect on vine development, ensuring very well- balanced berry ripening. The grapes entered the winery in magnificent condition and excellent balance of alcohol content and polyphenols.
The Tempranillo (78%) comes from 30-year-old vines in our Cuesta (Cenicero) and Montecillo (Fuenmayor) vineyards. The Garnacha (22%) comes from La Pedriza vineyard in Tudelilla (Rioja Oriental). This 70 hectare property offers unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. Its nutrient-poor soil, covered with boulders, results in great varietal typicity, rich in aromas, with a pleasant, elegant structure.
We started picking these plots in mid-October. The grapes were harvested manually and transported to the winery in refrigerated vehicles. Alcoholic fermentation took place spontaneously. Malolactic fermentation concluded at the end
of the year. In March 2013, the selected wines were put in barrels to start ageing separately: the Tempranillo for 36 months with six manual rackings, in American oak barrels averaging 4 years in age and the Garnacha for 30 months with five manual rackings, in barrels with two and three wines. The final blend was bottled in March 2016.
Grape / Blend
78% Tempranillo, 22% Garnacha
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Outstandingly bright, lively and intense garnet red, with an incipient cherry red rim. The first nose is very intense, with spicy, balsamic and ripe fruit notes. After swirling, aromas of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, vanilla and cinnamon make their appearance. Mouth full of flavours, with a pleasant acidity and balance, and very polished tannins that enhance the harmonious structure. Complex and elegant after- taste with spicy and balsamic hints. To enjoy right now, but with a long life ahead.
95 Points - James Suckling
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.
94 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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!
Product size: 750ml