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1995 Rioja Gran Reserva 890 La Rioja Alta Rioja  Spain Still wine

1995 Rioja Gran Reserva 890

La Rioja Alta

96Average Score
flagRioja / Spain
Red

Tasted twice, the 1995 Gran Reserva 890 is a blend of 95% Tempranillo (from Brinas, Labastida and Villaba), 3% Graciano and 1% Mazuelo, all aged in American oak for six years and delivering a headache-avoiding 12.7% alcohol. It has a heavenly bouquet that soars from the glass with soy, marmalade, a touch of Seville orange marmalade and cloves, all with superb delineation. The palate is very well-balanced with crisp, finely-tuned tannins that lend it wonderful focus. One can find vivacious flavors of strawberry, orange sorbet and citrus lemon while the finish is incredibly youthful and displays a level of tension that Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of. Outstanding traditional Rioja pulled out from the top drawer. Why? Because it whisks the drinker from wherever they are to, where the wine was born.<br><br>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. Aug 2012, www.robertparker.com, Drink: Drink now-2030+

Neal Martin    Score: 96/100

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