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Average critic rating : 94.0 points
The 1998 Gran Reserva 890 is more or less the same blend and vinification as the 1995 with just a little more alcohol (13%). It has impressive intensity on the nose with lifted dark cherry and briary notes. It has very fine delineation with aromas of licorice and orange rind. The palate is very well-balanced with fine tannins, crisp acidity and lively fresh citrus fresh fruit: small red cherries intermingling with orange zest, marmalade and cassis. It will need several years before it reaches its drinking plateau, but patently has great potential. Drink 2015-2025+ Finally, I was poured two mature vintages from their scant reserves.||La Rioja Alta formed part of my “classic Rioja” day that included Lopez de Heredia and Muga, the triumvirate of wineries in Haro all but a minute’s stroll from each other (which would have been fine, but for the spontaneous downpours). I have admired their wines for many years, Rioja that speaks so eloquently and with such clarity of their place. La Rioja Alta was founded in the town of Haro in 1890. They own 450 hectares of vineyard from which their entire portfolio is sourced, predominantly Tempranillo complemented by Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha. Another tenet is their use of American rather than French oak. The wood is cured for two years outdoors before being shaped and hammered into barrels at their own cooperage. Although the estate owns vines in Ribera del Duero and Rias Baixas (to be covered in later reports) I focused upon recent releases from their two Rioja lines: Torre de Ona and of course, La Rioja Alta itself. 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. Wine Advocate.August, 2012
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