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 Vintage2003 Label 1 of 40 
ProducerLa Rioja Alta (web)
DesignationViña Alberdi Reserva
RegionLa Rioja
SubRegionLa Rioja Alta

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2009 and 2014 (based on 7 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 88.6 pts. and median of 89 pts. in 77 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by Janstan on 12/14/2015 & rated 88 points: dark fruit, good with braised herbed chicken (185 views)
 Tasted by macaujames on 9/19/2015 & rated 88 points: I was shocked that this wine seemed so cool and elegant, still in the usual red fruits spectrum and seemed unaffected by the heatwave 2003 vintage! The only downside was the slightly unknit medium long finish. (334 views)
 Tasted by imcarthur on 7/4/2015 & rated 91 points: Ditto my last note on this wine - Big fruit nose with the body to match. Ripe berries that drift towards souring fruit. Long finish - but I upped my rating. A very nice wine. (483 views)
 Tasted by JimmyBubbles on 1/26/2014 & rated 90 points: Vamos a ver que hay aquí, esa "famosa" 2003.

Enseguida se abre para dar de si todo lo que tiene. Clasicismo riojano en sus terciarios, elegantes, toque animal, especiado, fruta roja en licor, esas endrinas, esos tostados integrados, suman, no restan, complejidad y parece que está preparado.

En la boca el tanino está perfectamente pulido, paso agil, con frescura, para tomar ya (gracias 2003). Ese final chispeante, la acidez citrica de Rioja.

Un gran ejemplo de RCP y de porque Rioja es Rioja. Finura, tipicidad y clasicismo. Ole!!. (2828 views)
 Tasted by sharonandroland on 11/10/2013 & rated 91 points: What a big change. Suddenly this has involved into an impressive classic Rioja. Slight VA, ferral notes, polishm some coconut and lovely red fruit. (2792 views)
 Tasted by imcarthur on 10/27/2013 & rated 89 points: Big fruit nose with the body to match. Ripe berries that drift towards souring fruit. Long finish. Drinking nicely but there is no rush. (2780 views)
 Tasted by ccarter5181 on 9/29/2013 & rated 90 points: Nice mature nose with lots of interest. Good concentration, medium body with nice mouthfeel. Cherry with nicely integrated oak, leather notes. Smooth tannins, long finish. Drinking well now. (2876 views)
 Tasted by IB71 on 6/13/2013 & rated 90 points: http://atasteforwine.blogspot.dk/2013/06/2003-la-rioja-alta-rioja-vina-alberdi.html


Appearance: Clear, medium garnet.

Clean nose of pronounced intensity, developed. Aroma characteristics: ripe red fruit (redcurrant, cherry) with additional notes of earthiness, smoky wood, camphor, caramel and pipe tobacco.

Dry on the palate with medium(+) level of acidity and medium(+) level of ripe tannin. Medium level of alcohol, medium(+) bodied. Pronounced intensity. Aroma characteristics repeated on the palate, with a rose-like, floral quality interwoven with the redcurrant fruit note. Soft, slightly grainy mouthfeel. Long finish.

Good, old-fashioned, american oak-matured Rioja. Which, from time to time, I enjoy a lot. Woody notes are definitely noticeable, but they are really damn tasty - and wonderfully contrasted by the lightness, transparency and elegance of the tempranillo fruit-notes. Ready to drink, but will keep. (1611 views)
 Tasted by Janstan on 6/13/2013 & rated 91 points: liked this wine just to sip and then with herb & garlic rubbed roast pork, asparagus and wild rice. Sweet pipe tobacco, leather, red currant (3358 views)
 Tasted by Janstan on 4/30/2013 & rated 86 points: It took about 1.5 hours for wine to open, still not a lot on the mid palate. Dark fruits but not identifiable.Had with grilled ribeye - not a good match (1521 views)
 Tasted by wineslide on 12/15/2012: OK, I like this wine, but it needs 2 things - it must be decanted and it needs food. By itself the wine is disappointing, it is too herbal and woodsy without much fruit. However, after a 1 hour decant, a night in the bottle without the cork and with food it works. It is very herbaceous, but the fruit does emerge.
I would not go out and buy another bottle because it does not line up with my palate but it turned out quite nice in the end. (2264 views)
 Tasted by Wamrod on 11/25/2012 & rated 92 points: Absolutely divine. Perfectly aged. This is the best it's shown for me. Super smooth and alive. Was best in first 45 minutes - pop and pour. (2188 views)
 Tasted by SkyCellar on 10/18/2012 & rated 88 points: Quite syrupy at the beginning, but it evens out and is quite nice. Should be decanted for at least an hour. (1902 views)
 Tasted by Faknr0ll on 10/1/2012 & rated 87 points: Good vfm! (1995 views)
 Tasted by Oldworlddrinker on 6/29/2012 & rated 88 points: A true Rioja wine, lots of cherry fruit and oak, medium body, good drinking wine but nothing memorable (2277 views)
 Tasted by fc1910 on 4/29/2012 & rated 89 points: From Magnum: still strong acidity, spicey, very young, red fruit, with air more elegant and soft, very long, 88-90 (2200 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 1/21/2012 & rated 91 points: tight leathery spiced cherries (2783 views)
 Tasted by MarcoAzevedo on 1/21/2012 & rated 85 points: Trully spanish wine, from head to toes. (2813 views)
 Tasted by Asani on 1/15/2012: Drank the 2005 (878 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 1/2/2012 & rated 89 points: cherry fruit with herbal notes. Medium body. nice acidity, smooth tannins. (2984 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 1/1/2012 & rated 90 points: cherry fruit with herbal notes. Medium body. nice acidity, smooth tannins. Paired with herb crusted rack of lamb, fabulous! (2977 views)
 Tasted by Fagernaes on 12/30/2011 & rated 89 points: - Garnet color. It's balanced with a medium body. Polished texture with a medium finish. (799 views)
 Tasted by Pimenta on 12/13/2011 & rated 91 points: Muito melhor que as garrafas anteriores, aparentemente evoluiu na garrafa. Equilibrado, com muito perfume, madeira no ponto certo. (3327 views)
 Tasted by wineslide on 11/24/2011 & rated 85 points: Sought out this wine after seeing the folks rave about it on an episode of Vine Talk. Was really excited to open it up as my wife an I were enjoying a wine and cheese fest last night. Manchego, Gruyere, Havarti and Fromage D'affinois. Did meld very well with the Manchego, go figure Rioja working well with Manchego!
The wine was not what I expected in that I got very little fruit. More herbal and like cedar with a touch of plums. Nice long finish but still confusing.
Will give it another try tonight, but I don't see this wine as having a very long life. (3334 views)
 Tasted by kernelgt on 11/22/2011 & rated 81 points: Decent, but very soft and in decline. Drink now. (3372 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Josh Raynolds
Vinous, September/October 2009, IWC Issue #146
(La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva Rioja) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (5/2/2011)
(La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Alberdi Reserva) Mature, smoky, black fruit nose; tasty, light-medium bodied, mature, black fruit, smoke palate; medium finish  88 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

La Rioja Alta

Producer website


Varietal character (Appellation America) | TAPAS: Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society

Tempranillo is the premium red wine grape variety from the Rioja and Ribera del Duero region in Spain. Tempranillo's aromas and flavors often combine elements of berryish fruit, herbaceousness, and an earthy-leathery minerality. Being low in acidity and sugar content, it is commonly blended with Carignan (Mazuela), Grenache (Garnacha), Graciano, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The varietal is at its best in top Riojas, where oak aging is employed to generate increased complexity and harmony. From the best sites, these wines can be remarkably concentrated with great aging potential. New wines from this region are darker, and more robust, with more dynamic primary fruit flavors than traditionally styled examples. These wines seem to reflect the influence of Spain's other key region for Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero. Regardless of style, Riojas tend to be medium bodied wines, with more acid than tannins. These wines generally feature Tempranillo blended with Garancha, Mazuelo, and Graciano. For these wines, there are three quality levels, which will appear on the label. Everyday drinking wines fall under the category of "Crianza", "Reserva" denotes more complex and concentrated wines, and "Gran Reserva" refers to the most intense wines, made only in the best years.

The same labeling scheme applies to wines from Ribera del Duero, which, like Rioja, is dominated by Tempranillo and shares similar blending grapes. Again, Ribera del Duero wines are generally darker and more powerful than the most traditional Riojas. These wines also generally see less oak treatment than Riojas. From Rioja, we like wines from Allende, Marqués de Cáceres, Montecillo, and Cune. In Ribera del Duero, consider Dominio de Pingus, Emilio Moro, Convento San Francisco, and Pesquera.
Pair older-style Rioja with simple meats like chicken, leg of lamb, and pork loin. However, the newer style of Rioja and Ribera del Duero works especially well with bolder meat dishes or an aged Spanish cheese like Manchego or Idiazabal.


Vinos de España - Wines of Spain (Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior) | Wikipedia

Spain is the third largest wine producing nation in the world, occupying the majority of the Iberian Peninsula with vast diversity in climate, culture, and of course, wine. From inky, dark reds of the [Priorat] to dry, white Finos from Andalusia, Spain can easily boast of elaborating a wide variety of notable styles. Within Spain there are currently 62 demarcated wine regions, of which a handful have gained international recognition: [Rioja], Priorat and [Ribera del Duero]. Yet these regions are only a small sample of the high quality wines Spain produces. Regions such as Cava, Penedes, Somontano, Galicia, Rueda and Jerez are only a few of the numerous regions worthy of exploration throughout Spain. Spain can also lay claim to having the most land under vine in the world, growing up to, by some accounts, 600 indigenous varietals of which Tempranillo is their most well known. Other popular varietals include [Garnacha], Bobal and Monastrell for reds and for whites; the infamous Palomino Fino grape which is used in the production of sherry wine, Pedro Ximenez in Montilla Morilles, Albarino used in the creation of the bright, effervescent wines of Galicia, and Verdejo in Rueda. - Source: - Catavino.net

Spain is not in the forefront of winemaking for its dessert wines, other than for its sweet wines from Sherry country including the highly revered Olorosos and Amontillados. But apart from Sherry Spain has a range of styles of dessert wines, ranging from the those made from the Pedro Ximenez grape primarily in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles) to luscious, red dessert wines made in the Mediterranean from the Garnacha (Grenache) grape. Some good Moscatels are made in Mallorca, Alicante and Navarre. The northwest corner of Spain, Galicia, with its bitter Atlantic climate, is even making dessert wines, called “Tostadillos” in the village of Ribadivia (similar to France’s “Vin de Paille”). The Canary Islands have made interesting dessert wines for centuries (they are mentioned by Shakespeare, for example) and in recent years the quality of winemaking has been improved and the Canary Islands wines are being better marketed now. The winemaking styles for “Vinos Dulces” are also diverse, from “Late Harvest” (Vendimia Tardía) to “Fortified Wines” (Fermentación Parcial). Based on in-spain.info.

La Rioja

Consejo Regulador DOC Rioja - Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja


Consejo Regulador DOC Rioja - Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja

The wine region of La Rioja in Spain was first demarcated by the area's governing body, the Consejo Regulador, in 1926. The region extends for approximately 120 kilometres along both sides of the Ebro River and is, at its widest point, bounded by mountains on either side. In fact, the word 'Rioja' is a derivation of the two words 'Rio' (River) and 'Oja (the name of a tributary of the Ebro that runs right through La Rioja creating a series of microclimates and providing much needed water for the vines).

La Rioja has always been a vital part of Spain's history. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, and finally, medieval Crusaders have all played a part in the area's history. The Romans, however, made wine a part of their culture wherever they travelled, and La Rioja was no exception. Ancient sites of Roman wineries still exist in and around the area today.
After the Romans came the Moors, and winemaking all but ceased. It wasn't until after the famous 'El Cid' liberated Spain, and medieval Christianity brought trade via the Crusaders through the region, that it flourished again. The Benedictine monks of Cluny in Burgundy, known for their viticulture, helped to establish three monasteries in the area. The vines they planted were mostly white grapes. In the fourteenth century, English traders acquired a taste for a local Rioja wine, which was a blend of white and red wines called Blancos Pardillos. Over time, development of lighter reds came about satisfying eighteenth century English and French courts.

The real improvements to Rioja's viticulture began around 1780 when the need to prolong wine during transport brought about experimentation with different woods and preservatives. Studies were made of the techniques used by great chateaux in Bordeaux. With the outbreak of the Peninsular War, progress was halted until 1852, when the Bordelais came south to Rioja seeking vines because their vineyards had been blighted with oidium. French winemaking methods were eagerly taken up by great rivals the Marques de Murrieta and Marques de Riscal (who both claim to have been the first in Rioja to make wine in the Bordeaux fashion).

When phylloxera devastated Bordeaux in the 1870s and the French influence really took hold in Rioja, many of the region's finest bodegas started production on what we now consider as the great wines of Rioja. It’s important to remember that Bordeaux winemaking methods then were very different to those employed today in France, and involved long ageing in barrel, a factor that the Riojans took up enthusiastically. So enthusiastically in fact that to this day there are a number of Bodegas that still make their wine in a surprisingly similar fashion to that of the Bordelais in the later part of the 1800s and this also explains why oak ageing is such an important part of Riojan winemaking.

Pronounced vanilla flavours in the wines are a trademark of the region though some modern winemakers are experimenting with making wines less influenced by oak. Originally French oak was used but as the cost of the barrels increased many bodegas began to buy American oak planks and fashion them into barrels at Spanish cooperages in a style more closely resembling the French method. This included hand splitting the wood, rather than sawing, and allowing the planks time to dry and 'season' in the outdoors versus drying in the kiln. In recent times, more bodegas have begun using French oak and many will age wines in both American and French oak for blending purposes.

In the past, it was not uncommon for some bodegas to age their red wines for 15-20 years or even more before their release. One notable example of this is Marqués de Murrieta which released its 1942 vintage Gran Reserva in 1983 after 41 years of ageing. Today most bodegas have shifted their winemaking focus to wines that are ready to drink sooner with the top wines typically ageing for 4-8 years prior to release though some traditionalists still age longer. The typical bodega owns anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels.
The use of oak in white wine has declined significantly in recent times when before the norm was traditionally 2-5 years in oak. This created slightly oxidised wines with flavours of caramel, coffee, and roasted nuts that did not appeal to a large market of consumers. Today the focus of white winemakers has been to enhance the vibrancy and fruit flavours of the wine.

Most Riojan Bodegas believe that the ageing of a wine should be the responsibility of the producer rather than that of the consumer, and this is why much Rioja is more mature than wines from other countries. Rioja red wines are classified into four categories. The first, simply labelled 'Rioja', or 'Sin Crianza' (meaning 'without ageing') is the youngest, spending less than a year in oak. A "Crianza" is wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which is in oak. 'Reserva' is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. Finally, 'Gran Reserva' wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle. Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are not necessarily produced each year. Also produced are wines in a semi-crianza style, those that have had a couple of months of oak influence but not enough to be called a full crianza. The designation of Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva might not always appear on the front label but may appear on a neck or back label in the form of a stamp designation known as Consejo.

Rioja Alta
Located on the western edge of the region, and at higher elevations than the other areas, the Rioja Alta is known for more fruity and concentrated wines which can have very smooth texture and mouth feel.

Rioja Alavesa
Despite sharing a similar climate as the Alta region, the Rioja Alavesa produces wines with a fuller body and higher acidity. Vineyards in the area have a low vine density with large spacing between rows. This is due to the relatively poor conditions of the soil with the vines needing more distance from each other and less competition for the nutrients in the surrounding soil.

Rioja Baja
Unlike the more continental climate of the Alta and Alavesa, the Rioja Baja is strongly influenced by a Mediterranean climate which makes this area the warmest and driest of the Rioja. In the summer months, drought can be a significant viticultural hazard, though since the late 1990s irrigation has been permitted. Temperatures in the summer typically reach 95°F. Twenty percent of the vineyards actually fall within the Navarra appellation but the wine produced from the grapes is still allowed to claim the Rioja designation. The predominant grape here is the Garnacha which prefers the hot conditions, unlike the more aromatic Tempranillo. Consequently Baja wines are very deeply coloured and can be highly alcoholic with some wines at 18% alcohol by volume. The wines typically do not have much acidity or aroma and are generally used as blending components with wines from other parts of
the Rioja.

The Riojans are master blenders (as they have to be because there are relatively few single estates in the area, the norm being to blend from a wide variety of vineyards and wine areas). Consequently they are able to reduce vintage variation by careful blending and many of the best wines vary relatively little between vintages.

Rioja wines are normally a blend of various grape varieties, and can be either red (tinto), white (blanco) or rosé (rosado). Rioja has a total of 57,000 hectares cultivated, yielding 250 million litres of wine annually, of which 85% is red. The harvest time for most Rioja vineyards is September-October with the northern Rioja Alta having the latest harvest in late October. The soil here is clay-based with a high concentration of chalk and iron (which provides the redness in the soil that may be responsible for the region's name, Rioja, meaning red). There is also significant concentration of limestone, sandstone and alluvial silt.

Among the Tintos, the best-known and most widely-used variety is Tempranillo. Other grapes used include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. A typical blend will consist of approximately 60% Tempranillo and up to 20% Garnacha, with much smaller proportions of Mazuelo and Graciano. Each grape adds a unique component to the wine with Tempranillo contributing the main flavours and ageing potential to the wine; Garnacha adding body and alcohol; Mazuelo adding seasoning flavours and Graciano adding additional aromas.
With Rioja Blanco, Viura is the prominent grape (also known as Macabeo) and is sometimes blended with some Malvesia and Garnacha Blanca. In the white wines the Viura contributes mild fruitness, acidity and some aroma to the blend with Garnacha Blanca adding body and Malvasia adding aroma. Rosados are mostly derived from Garnacha grapes. The 'international varieties' of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have gained some attention and use through experimental plantings by some bodegas but their use has created wines distinctly different from the typical Rioja.

Some of the most sought after grapes come from the limestone/sandstone based 'old vine' vineyards in the Alavesa and Alta regions. These 40 year old plus vines are prized due to their low yields and more concentrated flavours. A unique DO regulation stipulates that the cost of the grapes used to make Rioja must exceed by at least 200% the national average of wine grapes used in all Spanish wines.

Rioja (Red) Year %

2004 Superb vintage, classic wines Drink or Hold 94
2003 Hot, dry year, long-ageing wines Drink or Hold 91
2002 Smallest vintage in 10 years. Variable quality.
Keep to top names Drink or Hold 87
2001 Excellent year for long ageing Reservas
and Gran Reservas Drink or Hold 94
2000 A generally good vintage with fine Reservas Drink or Hold 89
1999 Smaller vintage of good quality Drink or Hold 88
1998 Good vintage Drink or Hold 97
1997 Unexciting so far, but quaffable Drink or Hold 84
1996 Good year, plenty of ageing potential Drink or Hold 89
1995 Very good vintage, Reservas now showing excellent fruit Drink or Hold 92
1994 Outstanding, some great long-ageing wines Drink or Hold 94
1993 Lesser wines, apart from best-known names Drink 77
1992 Rather light vintage Drink 80
1991 Still improving, average quality Drink or Hold 85
1990 Fairly ordinary but quaffable Drink 84
1989 Good, firm structure Drink 88

Rioja Reserva & Gran Reserva – Vintages of the Eighties Year %

1989 Goodish vintage, well balanced Drink 88
1988 Fairly good vintage, well balanced wines Drink 88
1987 Very attractive vintage, now at peak Drink 90
1986 Average year, now drinking well Drink 87
1985 Average year, now drinking well Drink 87
1984 Disappointing, with problem weather Avoid 80
1983 Don't keep it any longer Drink 86
1982 Now past its best Drink 83
1981 Superb wines, finest will keep longer Drink 90
1980 Average vintage, don't keep any longer Drink 86

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