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La Rioja Alta was started in 1890 by five families of winemakers from the Basque and Rioja regions. They founded a cooperative called Sociedad Vinicola de La Rioja. Today descendants of the same five families run the winery, which includes nearly 1,000 vineyard acres. The estate grows primarily Tempranillo, along with lesser quantities of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. The wines are all blends, and usually none are single-vineyard wines. Reviewers are invariably impressed with the wines, often awarding points in the mid- to high-90s, and the estate is considered in the league of classic Rioja producers along with its neighbors Lopez de Heredia and Muga. Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin has written that “I have admired (La Rioja Alta’s) wines for many years, Rioja that speaks so eloquently and with such clarity of place…. Quite simply, these are some of the finest Riojas that can grace your cellar….”
Region/Country: Rioja, Spain
Rating: 89 Points by Wine Advocate
Tasting Note: The 1995 Gran Reserva 904 is more deeply colored than the 1997, but on this day it was a bit taciturn and four-square, both aromatically and in the mouth. La Rioja Alta was founded in 1890 in Haro, the capital of Rioja Alta, in close proximity to Lopez de Heredia and Marques de Riscal. The Bodega’s wines are all blends, there are no single vineyard wines, and all of the wines are produced from estate-grown grapes. During my visit in May, 2010, I had the opportunity to taste verticals of 2 of La Rioja Alta’s wines, Vina Ardanza Reserva and Gran Reserva 904. Vina Ardanza’s wines are labeled Reserva with three exceptions. In what La Rioja Alta considers the greatest years (there have been three to date, 2001, 1973, and 1964) the wine is called Reserva Especial. There are usually four vintages a decade of La Rioja Alta’s Gran Reserva 904. It is made from a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano and aged for 5 years in barrel and 5 years in bottle prior to release.
Rioja 傳統派的巨頭 La Rioja Alta ，故事始於1890年由五個家族創立了酒莊，立志打造高品質的陳年里奧哈，酒名“904”，就係1904 和Ardanza 合併的年份。到現在還是用Rioja 傳統的釀造方法，美國木桶陳存4年，La Rioja Alta 904 用上了90% Tempranillo 和10% Graciano 調配，60年老樹! 而使用美國橡木桶的原因不是為了營做新派風格為酒添加雲呢拿或朱古力等味道，釀酒師Julio Saenz 解答是因為美國橡有更多微小的孔隙和堅硬的結構，有利葡萄酒以極緩慢的速度熟成。