Very, very odd bottle of Ardanza. It was certainly off -- extremely oaky and almost no fruit. I suspect it was slightly corked as I know cork taint can manifest itself by killing fruit without its usual "damp basement" characteristic, but I'm not 100% convinced at this point.
I'm a bit concerned about La Rioja Alta wines in general. Of a recent case of Vina Alberdi 2007, I'd say 5-6 bottles showed similarly -- very oaky vanilla and coconut and almost no fruit. They were actually very unpleasant. Now, I've tasted a similarly odd bottle of Ardanza. I've drunk too much great Ardanza (and Alberdi) so I know these bottles aren't typical, but I've had too much bad LRA lately.
I did not mark this as "flawed" even though I am almost certain it is, because I'd like any feedback from others on what I've been experiencing with LRA.
Drank with a vertical of 2001, 2005. This wine is not ready - in fact the 2005 is more ready today. Real whiff of barnyard on the nose, very tight and tannic for a Rioja). Decanted about an hour and drank over 4 hours. As said before, needs a lot more air if you want to drink it now. Resist the urge!
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(La Rioja Alta Rioja Viña Ardanza Reserva) Bricking medium dark red violet color; appealing, dried berry, black tobacco, dill, iodine nose; dill, iodine, dried black fruit, black tobacco, salty dried prune palate; medium-plus finish 90+ points (3 yrs in oak)
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