La Rioja Alta 2012

La Rioja Alta 2012
Today sees the inaugural release of the brand new Vina Arana Gran Reserva 2012 from famed Spanish estate La Rioja Alta. Vina Arana has historically been produced as a Reserva but following on from the success and remarkable consistency of the 904 and 890 Gran Reservas, the team have decided it’s high time to raise the bar and take the Arana brand to the next level, opening up this wonderful style of traditional Rioja to a new and wider audience. Henceforth it will only be produced in high quality vintages and will serve as the perfect foray in to the estate’s top tier. At just under £35.00 per bottle on the table, it is a delicious, affordable Gran Reserva Rioja that can be enjoyed immediately upon release or stored for a decade or more.

The wine sees three years’ ageing in the highest quality estate-made American oak barrels before being kept back in bottle to develop for a further three years before release. The 2012 is the realisation of a long-term goal, and they have tweaked the process along the way to ensure that it is a barnstorming debut. The blend is still 95% Tempranillo but they have opted to replace the Mazuelo for 5% Graciano so as to lift aromatic intensity and freshness, and give the wine a classic mouthfeel. The result is a Gran Reserva with oodles of ripe plums, wild strawberries and redcurrants, supported by wholesome flavours of sweet tobacco and coffee cake, dry earth and notes of fine black tea. 2012 was a warm, dry year in Rioja providing concentration and depth of fruit, but the changes in the blend and three years ageing (rather than four or five for the 904 and 890) means that, although it has developed impressive layers of complexity, it is built more on bright fruit and vibrant acidity – a hallmark of La Rioja Alta. Dinner party or quiet night in, there is a ton of wine here for the money, and it simply can’t fail to please!

“Great Rioja, as traditional as it gets, in good quantity and moderate (and often plain great) prices.” - Luis Gutierrez, the Wine Advocate

“Quite simply, these are some of the finest Riojas that can grace your cellar: complex, refined, classic but without compromising fruit intensity and to reiterate: wines that speak about where they come from.” - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate