In a nutshell: An elegant Rioja Reserva from an old and highly respected producer.
The lowdown: Made from 100% Tempranillo this is a great introduction to the quality and flavour of Rioja. Aged in American oak for 2 years before being bottled it has a bright cherry red colour, strong, elegant aroma of strawberries married with vanilla, cinammon and coconut. In the mouth it's wonderfully smooth and well balanced with a delicate touch of acidity that rounds things off perfectly.
When to drink: Very versatile when it comes to food pairing, rice dishes, pasta, casseroles, and grilled meats and fish all go really well.
Established in 1890 in the important winemaking town of Haro, where their head office is still to be found. In fact the part of town in which they reside is also home to several other iconic names of Rioja all within a radius of a few hundred yards. La Rioja Alta SA remain among the leading producers of traditional Rioja a style that they themselves where among the pioneers and which remains their hallmark.
Unusually among the larger producers they have significant vineyard holdings of their own which means they're as reliant as others on bought in fruit. They make all their barrels themselves from American oak. Their Reservas, Alberdi, Arana and Ardanza, and Gran Reservas, 904 and 890, are their signature wines, the quality of which underpins the company's excellent reputation.
Since 2005 their head winemaker has been Julio Sáenz who now heads up their strong technical team and helping to oversee the other wineries in their group.