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890 refers to the foundation year of 1890 (again the name was shortened to avoid confusion with the vintage). 890 is made only in the best vintages from 95% Tempranillo, with Graciano and Mencia making up the rest, and is aged in barrel from 6-8 years, and an additional 6 years in bottle.
It's a shame the prices have steadily gone up on these wonderful Gran Reservas. With that being said, I still think that these are relative values in the world of older vintages. I have enjoyed the 1981 on a few occasions, and have always been impressed with it's ethereal and harmonious qualities — bright cherry fruit, strawberry, cedar, soil tones, precision and gorgeously silky texture. Mature now, this will still to continue to cellar for at least 5-10 more years. Just lovely... cb
75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo and Graciano, aged 9 years in barrel and 9 years in bottle. Sweet, pretty aromas of balsamic, raspberries, coriander and crunchy leaves. Complex and well-structured on the palate with bright red cherry, chewy cranberry skins, woodsy thyme, thorny rose, clove spice, and crunchy leaves that remind us this fresh Rioja has some age. At the same time, its bright acidity and taut tannins alert us to many great years ahead! -Ariana Rolich
Vina Ardanza is named after one of the founding partners of La Rioja Alta; aged for 36 months in used American oak barrels, with about 20% Garnacha. While the aging regime for Ardanza qualifies it as a Gran Reserva, it is labeled as Reserva; 2001 was only the 3rd vintage to be designated ‘Reserva Especial’.
A beautifully fresh and precise wine. Another winner in an extraordinary line of Reservas. cb
Soil, soil and more soil. Husky structure and flavors of mushroom and rye-like savory notes and an intense brooding mineral character. It has been uniformly praised by the critics (see John Gillman and Josh Raynolds) and, with the last bottle I tasted, I joined the chorus. cb
This is my favorite of the current release Gran Reservas. It has gorgeous, delicate aromatics of cherry, strawberry, tobacco, light smoke and subtle soil notes. The palate is impeccably balanced, harmonious and silky with good tang to sweetness. The finish is long, pretty, and aromatic. cb
75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Graciano and Mazuelo, aged 6 years in barrel and 4 years in bottle. Rich aromas of wild cherry, rose oil, black raspberries, and toasty baking spice, with a full, silky, structured palate of cherry skins, tart cranberry, plump ripe strawberries, wild nettles, sweet tobacco, black tea, orange rind, and warm, woodsy earth. Generous and satisfying in its present youthful stage and an exciting candidate for long-term cellaring. AR
75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo, aged 6 years in barrel and 4 years in bottle. Full bodied and structured with dark tobacco, plump fruit, and woodsy earth. Rather generous and amazing. cb
This is serious Rioja: no new oak, extended pre-release bottle aging, and exquisite vineyard sites (for the Tondonia, vines dig deep through fine-grained alluvial soils overlooking the Ebro River that were first planted almost 140 years ago). Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta founded Lopez de Heredia in 1877, and the wines continue to serve as a benchmark for the region (the familyy business is now led mainly by his grandson Pedro, and great-granddaughter Maria Jose). The bodega comprises four distinct vineyard areas and extends to a total of 170 hectares, with Tondonia being the largest and most famous of the holdings. Jancis Robinson considers 2004 "a very good year, with wines that should last well," and the Tondonia Reserva is certainly that: powerful, lean, and layered with gorgeous, generous fruit and all the cigar box, cedar, and leather notes a lover of classic Rioja could wish for.