La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 2001
Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
Medium-depth, ruby-red with a brick rim, typical of the great Rioja classics. Very intense, fresh, vibrant aromas, with delicate notes of candied fruit against a balsamic, spicy, leathery background with hints of coffee and chocolate mints. Well-structured and round, with sweet tannins that have been polished by long aging in barrels and in the bottle. Ample, delicate, long-lasting finish.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2001 Gran Reserva 904 will not be released for another 3 years. Dark ruby-colored with a garnet rim, it displays a lovely nose of Asian spices, incense, tobacco, balsamic, and blackberry. On the palate it has exceptional depth, layers of spicy black fruit, excellent ripeness, and an elegant personality. Upon release it should continue to evolve for another 5-6 years and drink well through 2040."
International Wine Cellar - "Deep ruby. Complex, highly perfumed scents of dark berry compote, cherry pit, pipe tobacco and vanilla. Smoky, sweet and focused, offering vibrant black raspberry, bitter cherry and vanilla bean flavors that gain power with air. This doesn't act like a 12-year-old wine! Finishes smooth and very long, with lingering sweetness and gentle, fine-grained tannins."
Wine Spectator - "The alluring aromas of vanilla, lilac and cedar give way to berry, vanilla and tobacco flavors in this expressive red. Features a supple texture, with firm underlying tannins, while balsamic acidity lends a spicy note to the finish. Drink now. "
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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.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review43.8 out of 5 stars
8 ratings, 7 with reviewsBurntlicious - Cleveland, OH55/9/2013
Smells like a treasure-chest full of sweet dried fruits, tobacco, & leather that was buried for years. Great tertiary notes that can only be the result of age coupled with wonderful integration of the oak. Not the freshest 'fruit-bomb' oriented wine, but a great bargain for those who seek a prominent example of age-worthy, complex, well poised and postured tempranillo.anne pickett - San Leandro, CA54/14/2014
- Earthy & Spicy
2001 is the greatest vintage in Spain since 1964. The 904 should be held in the cellar 10-25 years from vintage.John the Bomb - Simsbury, CT54/25/2013
- Earth & Spicy
- Pair With
- grilled lamb chops
In two words - "Absolutely fantastic"!!! A Bargain at only $44. A true Rioja, with beautiful oak tones. Awesome !Ron Blachman - Berkeley, CA28/12/2014
- Big & Bold
This is the third of three Rioja Tempranillos that I tried in the last week, the most expensive but not the best. The color is somewhere between garnet and brick, this a a very oxidized wine. The nose is small to medium sized with hints of cassis, cherry, cauliflower (yuk) and wood, wood, wood, there is also a hint of lavender and soil. As with so many of these long-term-oaked wines there is little left of the fruit, the grape. This would be okay with salty or strong-smelling foods but I'm not a fan. If you like this style then at least try some at lower price points. Personally, think it's time for the Rioja winemakers to rethink what they make; Franco is gone and this style of "cooked" smelling wines should follow but that is, of course a matter of taste.WIll D - Biloxi, MS48/4/2014Really nice Tempranillo. 2001 is a great Rioja vintageStashforce - Menasha, WI46/20/2014
- Earth & Spicy
- Pair With
- Civil War
This is a very good wine. Smooth and very soft. You can tell the years of bottle age have helped tame this wine. It falls a little short on the finish though, which is why I only give it 4 stars.AmandaLou - Hillsboro, OR45/15/2014
- Smooth & Supple
Gorgeous, sweet cigar and old leather. Slight oxidation but still a beautiful fruit perfume to it.Wendy - San Francisco, CA58/6/2013
- Earth & Spicy