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La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 1998

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • RP95
  • WS90
12.6% ABV
  • JS97
  • RP95
  • W&S95
  • WS92
  • JS97
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • WE96
  • RP96
  • WS92
  • RP96
  • WS91
  • RP96
  • WS91
  • RP92
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12.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Brick red with iodine hints, medium robe. Intense aroma of spices, noble wood, mentholated chocolate on a background of plums, raisins and sugared fruit. Very long and complex to the nose. Well-balanced to the palate, with a good structure and highly polished, silky and elegant tannins. Complex after-taste with a gentle and long-lasting ending.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1998 Gran Reserva 904 is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano aged in American cask for four years. It has a very fine nose with notes of dried honey, cloves, raisin and wild heather that blossom in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with a touch of orange peel on the entry. It has an effortless sense of harmony and poise, with a crisp tense finish and suffused with a sorbet-like freshness. It just dances across the palate, a memorable Rioja with style and panache. Drink now-2030.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Beautiful cigar box, orange peel, clove and rose aromas draw you into this mature, supple red, which shows pronounced acidity and dried citrus, tobacco and spice flavors. A bit lean, a reflection of the vintage, but a lovely example of the traditional style.
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La Rioja Alta

La Rioja Alta

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La Rioja Alta, Rioja, Spain
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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.

Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.

Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged around six months to one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two (plus three years in bottle), but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.

White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins and a bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions and important throughout most of Spain. Depending on location, it takes on a few synonyms; in Penedès, it is known as Ull de Llebre and in Valdepeñas, goes by Cencibel. Furthermore in Portugal, known as Tinta Roriz, it is a key component both in Port and the dry red wines of the Douro. The New World regions of California, Washington and Oregon have all had success with Tempranillo, producing a ripe, amicable and fruit-dominant style of red.

In the Glass

Tempranillo produces medium-weight reds with strawberry and black fruit characteristics and depending on yield, growing conditions and winemaking, can produce hints of spice, toast, leather, tobacco, herb or vanilla.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and good acidity make it extremely food friendly. Pair these with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a naming system is in place to indicate how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release. Rioja labeled Joven (a fresh and fruity style) spends a year or less in oak, whereas Gran Reserva (complex and age-worthy) must be matured for a minimum of two years in oak and three years in bottle before release. Requirements on Crianza and Reserva fall somewhere in between.

CNC733562_1998 Item# 117692