The best classic style of Grenache and Tempranillo pulling together joyful fruit expression and serious depth. In the mouth it is amazingly complex and so unique. A benchmark Rioja blend. SJE: A rich, sweet and savoury Reserva style with all the red cherries and a strong Grenache influence. It is somewhat old-fashioned, in a good way, with plentiful integrated oak and a fine rasp of tannin. PM: This has a wonderful oxidative style, giving it a superb savoury nose of leather. It is a perfect combination of mellowness versus vigour, and at the same time exudes great finesse.
Aromatic nose of dried strawberries and flowers follows through to a full body, soft and velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Opulent and delicious yet refined.
Vintages for Viña Ardanza seem to be going fast. It seems like yesterday that the 2001 was released and now the 2008 Viña Ardanza is already here. This is the first vintage when they have been able to use the fruit from their new Garnacha vineyards in the village of Tudelilla (Rioja Baja), La Pedriza, which represents 20% of the blend complementing the majority of Tempranillo. The wine was put in barrel in March 2009, separately; the Tempranillo was in four-year-old barrels for 36 months with six rackings, and the Garnacha in second and third use barrels for 30 months with five rackings. Vintages might go fast, but the wine does not feel too young, which was my fear. There are notes of stewed meat, cured leather, cloves, other spices and an overall balsamic character. The palate feels solid, consistent, nicely built, with abundant tannins and good balancing acidity. This should stand up to food and be able to develop in bottle. No less than 600,000 bottles are produced. I tasted from a bottle from March 2013. (LG)
80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha Mushroom, farmyard, milk chocolate and soft red berries. Ever-reliable, with its expert balance of rounded tannin and fresh acid. Lovely liquorice notes to finish. 17+/20 points (RH)
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2011 Can Mayol Loxarel "Reserva Familiar" Brut Nature Classic Penedes (Previously $20)