La Rioja Alta's Viña Ardanza has been our most popular Rioja for several years. It is no wonder, as this is the gold standard for traditional bodegas: a winery that ages their wines the old fashioned way, meaning three years in barrel with two rackings a year, followed by three years in bottle. According to the winery, the blend is, "80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. The Tempranillo grapes come from 30-year-old vines planted in our Viña Ardanza vineyards in Fuenmayor and Cenicero. The Garnacha grapes come from old, goblet-pruned vines planted at an altitude of 600 m above sea level in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja), in plots adjacent to our Finca La Pedriza estate."
"Savory and complex with dried orange peel, cedar and plenty of sweet spices, walnuts, caramel, dried mushrooms and pine needles. Shows maturity here, with a medium body and superb freshness. Incredibly long finish with lots of truffle and walnut. Lasts over a minute. Very complete now, but you can still hold it." James Suckling, 95 Points
"An intriguing red, with steeped raspberry, dried black cherry, iron and iodine aromas and flavors. Silky on the palate and finely knit, this is a rich, medium-bodied red that offers supple tannins. A lovely example of Rioja in a more traditional style, this should open well in the decanter or with time in the cellar. Tempranillo and Garnacha. Best from 2025 through 2033." The Wine Spectator, 93 Points
"The 2016 Viña Ardanza Reserva was produced with 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha that matured in used American oak barrels for three years, where it was hand-racked from barrel to barrel six times in the case of Tempranillo and five times for the Garnacha, as it had a slightly shorter élevage of 30 months. Against all odds, I found the 2016 to be fresher than the 2015 and less developed, despite the fact that winemaker Julio Sáenz told me he considers it a warmer year. But I have found many wines I like in 2016, and the wine feels very clean and quite harmonious, younger and less developed, with more primary notes and a velvety mouthfeel." The Wine Advocate, 94+ Points