La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Tinto 2001
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Ruby-red with an intense orange rim, medium-depth, clean and bright. Very intense aromas with a classic bouquet with outstanding balsamic and spicy notes - coconut, vanilla and chocolate mints wrapped in hints of ripe fruit. Great body and structure in the mouth, with balanced tannins ofexceptional elegance and finesse, leaving a very long, spicy, complex aftertaste. A unique Gran Reserva 890 which looks forward to a long life in the bottle.
Blend: 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano, 2% Mazuelo
The Wine Advocate - "2001 is a great vintage for all the wines from La Rioja Alta but the long-awaited 2001 Gran Reserva 890 is otherworldly. 2001 was a slow maturing vintage which produced smaller grapes especially in the old vineyards on the slopes of the Sierra Cantabria in the villages of Brinas, Labastida and Villalba where the vineyards that make it into this wine are located. The final blend contains a majority of Tempranillo with 3% Graciano and 2% Mazuelo. The wine ferments with the natural yeasts attached to the grapes in stainless steel vats and is aged for six years in used American oak barrels with 12 manual rackings. A selection of the best barrels were blended together and bottled unfiltered in March 2008. Only 15,000 bottles were produced. It shows (even) younger and more concentrated than the 2004 904, a darker shade of red and a somehow backward and reticent nose (relatively speaking) of forest floor, cold bonfire, antique shop, truffles, game, sandalwood, nutmeg and clove. The fruit is also a little darker and the palate more austere, but still showing vibrant and supple, with clean flavors and a great finish. This is my favorite modern time 890. Bravo!"
Wine Spectator - "Firm and polished, this red is a lovely example of the traditional style, with tea, tobacco and sanguine notes framing a core of dried cherry, orange peel and spice. Fresh, focused and long. Drink now through 2021."
La Rioja Alta Winery
Always evolving quality, elegance, innovation, evolution... They are the pillars on which the five founding families erected our winery in 1890 and built a way of living, feeling and producing wines of the highest quality that continue to evolve subtly, perfectly adapting to new tastes. This is how the permanent pursuit of excellence started; a pursuit that continues into the 21st century with identical enthusiasm. We draw the best from our winemaking tradition and wisdom —our own cooperage, manual racking, long ageing periods, etc.— and combine it with the most modern winemaking technology. Today, our wines are an international exemplar of the great wines of Rioja and our brands are present in the best restaurants across all continents. View all La Rioja Alta Wines
About RiojaView a map of Rioja wineries (ree-OH-hah) Spain makes some of the best Tempranillo-based wines in the world. Once the only DOCa (recently joined by Priorat in 2001), Rioja is divided into 3 sub-regions: Rioja Baja, Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa. There are 4 red varieties and 3 white varieties allowed in the Rioja DOC. Tempranillo definitely takes center stage, followed by Garnacha (Grenache), which is sometimes added for body, then Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan). The region also makes roses. For whites, the main grape is Viura (or Macebo), producing fresh, early-drinking wines. Malvasia, the grape that was once the most planted white, is found less often.
Notable FactsThe Rioja wine trade is somewhat confusing. Grapes are typically brought to a merchant's bodega from one of the 20,000+ growers in the region, or via a cooperative. The wine is then bottled and labelled by that bodega. Rioja's Consejo Regulador keeps track of all vineyards and bodegas to make sure they are following the DOCa regulations. Put in place to ensure quality, the system also controls prices.
As with the rest of Spain, the wine label may state Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, depending on barrel & bottle maturation. Crianzas are usually found within two years of the vintage and offer fresh, ripe wines. Reserva and Gran Reserva will be found a few years after the vintage, as the bodega will be aging the wines in barrel and bottle before release. Both typically show more secondary characteristics of spice and oak ageing.
The most popular red varieties of Spain include Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Whites don't garner quite as much recognition, but there are some regional varieties not to be missed, like Albarino and Verdejo. The popular red regions of Spain include Rioja, known for its outstanding wines of the Tempranillo grape; Ribera del Duero, producing high quality reds from Tempranillo and Garnacha; Galacia, with the sub-region of Rias Baixas, home to the deliciously crisp and floral Albarino grape; and Priorat, a region increasing in popularity with its high-quality cult reds. Other regions of note are Rueda, growing the Verdejo grape, La Mancha, a wide desert region, covered in the most planted white variety in the world, Airen, and Jumilla, making wines based on Monastrell (Mourvedre).
Spain's wine laws are based on the Denominacion de Origen (DO) classification system, devised in the 1930's. A four tiered system, the most basic level is Vina de Mesa (table wine) followed by Vino de la Tierra (country wine), DO and at the top DOC. Currently, only Rioja and Priorat have DOC status, while over 65 DO's scatter the country.
Most DO regions are classified and regulated by how long they age the wines. On a red wine label, one may find the terms Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva, denoting the wine's barrel and bottle time. Crianza is usually two years between barrel and bottle (the time in each depends on the DO and/or the winemaker), Reserva up to 4 years and Gran Reserva 5 – 6 years. Classifications of each region and wine are controlled by the region's Consejo Regulador.
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