Ruby to mahogany, the initial attack flows from coconut to sweet anise through liquorice and red cherry - this needs a little air to open up . On the plate this is reserved at first, calm, rich and young. Very suave tannins are wrapped up in rich languid fruit, a refinement of structure that marks this out as a bit different and initially less dependent on oak than previous vintages. Dried cherry, wild strawberry, liquorice, iron and blood, with a note of warm spice on the finish. This has a reserve and calm poise that marks it out as a lovely 890 worthy of cellaring.
A Spanish legend steeped in tradition, La Rioja Alta is a company that was founded in 1890 – long before the borders of the Rioja region were demarcated and the Denominación de Origen was established. Today, they are at the cutting edge of winemaking technology but still adhere to their traditional philosophy of getting an excellent base wine high in fruit, tannin and acidity, achieved by hard viticultural work. This is followed by a long and carefully calculated maturation in American oak during which fine, sophisticated aromas and flavours build up without a sniff of oxidation. The finished wines, released after extended ageing represent excellent value traditional Rioja. It is no surprise that they have so many devoted followers.
Spains most famous wine growing region is seeing something of a revolution. A band of new producers are shunning the traditional methods of production in a effort to gain greater purity of fruit, less dominant oak influence, and individual terroir characteristics. The results are wines that have the ability to age and improve in bottle, that have finesse, character and real elegance.