“The 1973 Reserva Especial is a brick/brown color with a splendid and remarkably complex perfume encompassing dried fruits, herbs, and other savories. Elegant but still with great depth and concentration, this silky offering is complete in every way. It is fully mature but shows no signs of old age. It seems to be universally acknowledged in Rioja that 1964 was one of the great vintages of the 20th century. Having been fortunate enough to have tasted several, I cannot argue.
La Rioja Alta was founded in 1890 in Haro, the capital of Rioja Alta, in close proximity to Lopez de Heredia and Marques de Riscal. The Bodega’s wines are all blends, there are no single vineyard wines, and all of the wines are produced from estate-grown grapes. During my visit in May, 2010, I had the opportunity to taste verticals of 2 of La Rioja Alta’s wines, Vina Ardanza Reserva and Gran Reserva 904. Vina Ardanza’s wines are labeled Reserva with three exceptions. In what La Rioja Alta considers the greatest years (there have been three to date, 2001, 1973, and 1964) the wine is called Reserva Especial. There are usually four vintages a decade of La Rioja Alta’s Gran Reserva 904. It is made from a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano and aged for 5 years in barrel and 5 years in bottle prior to release.”
— Jay Miller / eRobertParker.com