From the Rioja Cellar

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Here's a special treat - we don't get to offer nearly as much old Rioja as we'd like. The wines age beautifully. These come from two different collections and were in temperature-controlled storage.

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Lopez de Heredia 1981 Rioja Bosconia Gran Reserva

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

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Lopez de Heredia 1991 Rioja Bosconia Gran Reserva

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

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Lopez de Heredia 1991 Rioja Tondonia Gran Reserva

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

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López de Heredia 1994 Rioja Gran Reserva Tondonia

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

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  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

López de Heredia 2000 Rioja Tondonia Reserva

This is a very good vintage for Tondonia. It's no 1998 in terms of complexity but much better than the 1999. This shows a lot of pretty plummy fruit, subtle cherry and tobacco notes, very good structure, and good delineanation of flavors while maintaining harmony and balance. This wine is drinking so well it warrants a half bottle as well as a magnum. cb

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López de Heredia 2001 Rioja Tondonia Reserva

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

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Peciña, Hermanos de 2001 Rioja Reserva

This Reserva is a fine example of what a great vintage Peciña had in 2001, showing aromas and flavors of strawberry, cedar, flowers, and baking spices. There is an almost luxurious quality to the palate with plush fruit, mushroom, soft silky tannins, as well as beautiful acidity and a floral lift to the finish. This Reserva bottling speaks of the singularity of Rioja Alta and in particular of Peciña's village, San Vicente, where most of their best holdings are located. After two days open, nothing had changed about this wine; if anything, it was more crystalline and concise. How's about a traditional age-worthy Rioja at a very reasonable price? cb

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Peciña, Hermanos de 2001 Rioja Vendimia Seleccionada

The Vendimia Seleccionada Reserva is only made in exceptional vintages where the power, elegance, and ageworthiness of Pecina's wines will achieve their highest expression with three years in used American oak followed by three years in bottle. 2001 is a singular vintage and one that gives great pleasure even in relative youth. Densely knit but incredibly subtle, with dusky wild cherry, gentle baking spice, seedy berries, dark earth, and umami. This is a wine for the cellar but also delicious right now with herbed grass-fed steaks or savory lamb. AR

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  • Biodynamic
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La Rioja Alta 2001 Rioja Gran Reserva 904

904 is 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano spent four years in four year old American oak, six and a half years in bottle, and is released ready to drink. Lively acidity and tart red raspberry express youthful vigor and ageworthiness, while warm pretty spice and and just enough earth make it pleasurable to drink now. -AR

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La Rioja Alta 2001 Rioja Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial

This is only the 3rd vintage that the Ardanza has been classified as "Reserva Especial" during the long history of the La Rioja Alta winery. The other two vintages were 1964 and 1973. That being said, this cuvee lives up to expectations and is a testament to a fantastic vintage. Ardanza is full-bodied, sweet, tangy and savory, with strawberry/plum fruit, mushroom, and notes of herbs from the generous helping of garnacha in the blend. On the palate it is well structured with gorgeous velvety tannins and excellent balance and length. As the great wines of Rioja do, this will surely cellar very well and would stand up to just about any food that you could throw at it. I specifically would pair this with game-birds with a sweet and savory sauce. cb

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La Rioja Alta 2004 Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva

The 2004 vintage is a lovely follow-up to the immensely popular 2001 Ardanza. Tried, true, and traditional (while being light on its feet and a lot of fun), Ardanza offers warm black cherry, stewed strawberry, and red plum on the nose, with cut green herbs and dry earth. Mouth-coating tannins on the palate, with tangy cherry, strawberry seeds, hibiscus tea, warm woodsy spice, dark soil, and a clean bright finish. The inclusion of 20% Garnacha from the Rioja Baja makes this cuvée both crowd-pleasing and food friendly, pairing well with any poultry, meat, or roasted root vegetable, but especially with smoky bacon and Basque cheeses like Osau-Iraty. -AR

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