TN: 2001 La Rioja Alta Vigna Ardanza Reserva Especial

I love the '01 Riojas, especially the traditional GRs. This wine was totally dominated by a candied oak flavor that robbed it of any real fruit. This is very perplexing given the positive reviews of this wine. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I detected little character beyond the cloying oak. Any other thoughts? Score: ?


You can find more discussion of this one as part of this thread:

I think it has great potential. The short version of my TN is I got the oak but with more fruit and acidity than you did. None of those components were close to being integrated yet so it will be another 3-5 years before I pop one open.

I had this the other night and found it dominated by coconut, banana, circus peanut aromatics. There was some attractive Tempranillo character under there but I couldn’t get a read on where this might go. Not sure if I’m a buyer.

Yes, the coconut, banana and circus peanuts is exactly what I’m describing as the candied oak.

I must really not have much oak sensitivity because I think this wine is excellent and a fantastic value, and have been buying it in bulk. I find the wood adds complexity rather than obscures the fruit.

The only thing limiting me to 1 case is the suspicion that 2004 and/or 2005 will be “reserva especial” or at least great “reserva” as well. More great things to come not far down the road.

I’m not sure what can be candied or cloying about oak but yes it is very prominent on this wine. The reason I loved it was that I had it with lots of air on it a couple of times. That and most Rioja has lots of American oak on it. I think this will be even better in ten years time but I can see why some might be concerned. There are other threads on this bottle around discussing this issue.

Lots of lots is what happens with Ardanza. All lots are equal, but some are oakier than others…

La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva “890” 1995 :
Drunk last week. Too much oak, bourbon, rancid butter … unpleasant.

Funny, the half bottle I tried recently with Theodore wasn’t nearly as oaky as the one in the Canaries back in May (which almost hurt to drink with so much acrid barrel tannin), but it was still too much for my oakphobic sensibilities… yet our Spanish-loving host found it just fine.