Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate; 95/100
“2010 was a great vintage in Rioja in general and seems to be exceptional here, with a 2010 Viña Ardanza Selección Especial (what used to be Reserva Especial) that can challenge any of the recent vintages and hopefully can develop in bottle to reach the heights of years like 1973 or 1964. The wine is expressive, aromatic, very elegant and clean, with classical Rioja aromas of long aging in barrel and slow oxidation through the years in wood. The palate is polished and sleek but shows plenty of energy, with very fine, mostly resolved tannins and very good harmony and persistence. There is great complexity, and you could start smelling spice and smoke to move to earthy tones, hints of beef blood, cherries in liqueur, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. A great Viña Ardanza!”
James Suckling 96/100;
“Dried cherries, cedar, sandalwood, tar, treacle tart, cinnamon and vanilla. Medium body, fine-grained and very silky tannins for a wine of almost 10 years of age, bright and transparent acidity and a long, very spicy finish. Like going back in time and touching an ornate tapestry. The texture is mesmerizing.” Drink now.
Viña Ardanza 2010 is a blend of 80% Tempranillo from La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards in the Rioja Alta subregion, and 20% Garnacha from La Perdriza in Rioja Oriental. This Garnacha is the key to Ardanza’s structure, aromatics, and concentration: these vines are actually higher in altitude than most of the Rioja Alta subzone, and sit on barren, free-draining soils made up with large pudding-stones similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. These two varieties are harvested and vinified separately, ageing around three years in American oak barrels which are produced in-house by La Rioja Alta S.A.’s own cooperage. During the maturation, the wine is racked by hand and by candlelight; La Rioja Alta S.A. are one of the handful of producers still to use this traditional technique in Rioja which ensure supple tannins and the savoury flavours that so defines their style.
2010 is widely regarded as one of the very finest vintages in recent memory for Rioja. Julio Sáenz, head winemaker at La Rioja Alta S. A., called it “spectacular” – a description which is well and truly borne out in the Viña Ardanza 2010.
The 2010 is particularly remarkable as it has been declared a 'Selección Especial'. This is the highest praise from the winemakers, a title only awarded to the wines and vintages that they rank among the best ever made. For Ardanza, this is only the fourth vintage to win the title, alongside the legendary 1964, 1973, and 2001