New Release: 2004 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890
Benchmark Rioja estate La Rioja Alta is traditional with a capital T. When on song, their great old bottlings can hold their head up in very exalted company. A bottle of 1982, recently enjoyed at a dinner, alongside a line-up of considerably more expensive bottles more than held its own. The keys to their success lie in great fruit and very patient cellaring; the release of their top wines only comes after many years in barrel and bottle. The Gran Reserva 890 receives 6 years in American oak and is racked twice by candlelight. Only the estate’s finest grapes make it into the cellar and only the finest barrels make it into 890 blend. Today’s release of the flagship Gran Reserva 890 is from the excellent 2004 vintage, a year that provided winemakers in Rioja with almost perfect growing conditions.
Today, the 890 2004 is a remarkably composed wine. The whole package is one of poise, calm fruit and exceptionally suave tannins. The characteristic aromas of American Oak serve to highlight rather than dominate and the fruit below, while still youthful and somewhat closed, carries the wine seamlessly from start to finish. Graceful was a word that came up in tasting it, silky-smooth, rich yet lithe, and with air, complex notes of sweet spice, dried cherry and iron start to emerge. Given the track record of this estate, it would seem likely this will be singing its song for many years to come.