After having tried this wine several times, it seems to be getting better with each tasting. Even from the start, the nose is expressive, with notes of tobacco, balsamic, cherries, leather and earth. The wine certainly benefited from several hours of air, becoming more complex and nuanced, suggesting this will be great for years to come. A refined and memorable wine.
Blood red. Initial nose of leather, fresh sawn wood, moist earth and cherries. Initial notes of sweet cherries and chocolate, camphor, plums and currants. Nice acids. WIne developed for 2 hours inthe glass. Opened to more floral notes with less sweetness.
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(La Rioja Alta Viņa Ardanza Rioja Reserva Especial) The 2001 Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial from La Rioja Alta is 80% Tempranillo, largely sourced from the Viña Ardanza estate in Fuenmayor, in the Rioja Alta district; what doesn't come from here is derived from other Rioja Alta vineyards. The balance is Garnacha, sourced from Ausejo and Tudelilla in Rioja Baja. The fruit was fermented in stainless steel, regulated to 28ºC, and malolactic was complete before transfer into American oak in March 2002. The wine was racked every six months before eventual bottling in September 2005. This lengthy élevage shows through in the wine today which, although rich in pigment, with a very dark hue especially at the core of the wine, is showing the mature tones of age and time spent in wood. And yet aromatically this wine remains painfully youthful - to my nose at least, as I enjoy Rioja with a great more deal age than this wine has at present - with firm and vibrant notes of redcurrant and cranberry, white pepper, thyme, rosemary and blackcurrant, the fruit character suggestion of a rich substance rather than anything lean or bright. Certainly evocative and aromatic, and there are certainly some vanilla and chocolate-mint aromas from the oak flexing their muscles here, although these oaky notes are well-matched the fragrant fruit now, and will undoubtedly fade with time. It has a surprisingly cool and well-framed style at the start of the palate, but is also rich and showing plentiful substance. But there is still a precise and surprisingly stony grip to it, with softer honeyed substance towards the end of the palate, revealing plenty of peppery spice here also. An elegant style, but with a firm and energy-charged finish, I've no doubt this is going to do extremely well in the cellar, especially as it has quite some length to it in the finish.
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