[ Rioja – Spain ]
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It doesn’t take a math whiz to be impressed by the numbers that begin to define what La Rioja Alta is all about. A standard bearer in the production of classically styled Rioja wines, La Rioja Alta lays claim to nearly 1,000 acres of vineyard, more than 50,000 barrels of wine at any given point and more than 6.4 million bottles in storage awaiting release to market. In some respects, the flagship wine brands at Rioja Alta may be more famous than the winery name itself. Three Reserva level red cuvees – called Alberdi, Arana and Ardanza – are named after the three founding families of this great winery, all of whom continue to hold a stake in the business today.
Upon arrival at the Gran Reserva level of the Rioja Alta range, we find two wines that are undeniable Spanish icons that stand proudly as definitive expressions of this history steeped region. Gran Reserva 890 and Gran Reserva 904 are amongst the most celebrated, acclaimed and sought-after red wines made in Spain – and are mainstays in the cellars of serious wine collectors and the finest restaurants around the world. The 890 cuvee pays tribute to the original founding date of the winery, in 1890, and 904 pays homage to the merger with Bodegas Ardanza in 1904. If you doubt for a moment that respect for history and tradition pay central roles in this business, you needn’t look any further than the fact that they stamp these dates on the front label of their top wines to be dissuaded.
Rioja Alta S.A. defines its modus operandi as the relentless pursuit of quality, elegance, innovation and evolution. These guiding principles have lead to more than a century at the pinnacle of quality wine production is Spain’s most famous appellation. The wines of Rioja Alta are characterized by the careful balance between fruit and oak, with outstanding structure, freshness and longevity. While the wines of the Rioja (particularly Reserva and Gran Reserva level reds) are released to market much later in their evolution than practically any other reds wines made anywhere in the world, these are serious wines that are built to age.
The Rioja Alta S.A. group also owns a neighbouring estate, Torre de Ona, in the Rioja as well as the celebrated Ribera del Duero producer Bodegas Aster and the masterful Albarino producer Lagar de Cervera in Rias Baixas.
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Profile: La Rioja Alta S.A.