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La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Tinto 2009

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • JS97
  • RP95
  • W&S95
  • WS92
13.5% ABV
  • JS97
  • RP95
  • WS93
  • RP96
  • WE96
  • WS92
  • RP96
  • WS91
  • RP96
  • WS91
  • RP95
  • WS90
  • RP92
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4.2 34 Ratings
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4.2 34 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Cherry-red with a ruby rim; clean, bright and lively. Highly complex nose with a creamy bouquet and spicy notes of cinnamon, vanilla, powder chocolate, snuff box and a background of undergrowth that lead to stewed red fruit and cherry liqueur. Tasty in the mouth, with good texture, balanced and fresh on the palate with elegant, tamed tannins. Outstandingly long, persistent and refined finish with notes of sweet tobacco, cedar and spice, cherry liqueur and coffee caramel aftertaste. A classic Rioja which stands out for its freshness and great bottle aging potential.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 97
James Suckling
This is a driven and super tight Gran Reserva with dark berries and hints of spice and cedar. A spicy red-pepper undertone and some dried flowers. Full to medium body, integrated tannins and a superb finish. A great wine. A wine for the cellar, but why wait?
RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Time flies, and the 904 for sale is already the 2009 Gran Reserva 904, as they didn't bottle it in 2008. They are only going to bottle their top wines in very good and excellent vintages, so there will be a 2010 and 2011 but no 2012, 2013 or 2014. This super classical cuvée showcases the wines from Haro, silky and elegant after long aging in oak and a good future in bottle. 2009 was a powerful vintage, ripe but with good balance. The blend is approximately 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, fermented in stainless steel with a 78-day natural malolactic. The aging was in four-year-old American oak barrels crafted by their own coopers; the wines aged from April 2010 until April 2014. During that time, the wine was racked every six months, to be finally bottled in November 2014. This is usually my favorite wine from the portfolio, where the balance between aging and youth reaches its highest point. It's developed but it keeps some fruit character, plenty of spices and balsamic aromas. The palate is polished but has some clout, with clean, focused flavors and a long, spicy and tasty finish. This represents good value for the quality it delivers. 150,000 bottles produced. Because they didn't produce 890 in 2009, the grapes for the 890 were in this 904. As a curiosity, they uncorked a 1982, which was superb.
W&S 95
Wine & Spirits
Now that marijuana is legal, or, at least, decriminalized in most states, is it okay to say that a wine has the resinous richness of a hit off a joint? There it is, not skunky or harsh, just saturated with smoky spice. And somewhat addictive, with at least one taster noting she could drink the whole bottle. This is the most inviting kind of Rioja, melding its American oak scents and delicate maturity of fruit into elegance. It has the kind of robust delicacy that would match seafood paella.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
This red shows a vibrant maturity, with tea and leather notes accenting red plum, orange peel and spice flavors in a round, polished texture. Bright acidity and well-integrated tannins give this structure. Graceful and expressive. Drink now through 2024.
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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 Oriental. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although specific sub-region (zonas), village (municipios) and vineyard (viñedo singular) wines can now be labeled. 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 Oriental 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 for one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two, 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.

GSW0010_2009 Item# 423151