|La Rioja Alta
They were eager to show me their 2010 Gran Reserva 890, their flagship wine from one of the most heralded vintages of recent times, the next vintage of this wine since 2005. It's 95% Tempranillo, 3% Graciano and 2% Mazuelo that fermented destemmed and crushed with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats for 18 days, the Tempranillo and Mazuelo together and the Graciano separately. After letting the wine settle for the winter, they selected the lots that would age for six years in used American oak barrels with 10 manual rackings. The wine epitomizes the classical style of Rioja Alta with long aging in barrel, developed and tertiary wines with a silky palate and a complex and decadent nose of forest floor, truffles, cigar ash and cedar wood. They need a very special selection of vineyards at higher altitude that take longer to ripen, and they don't do it fully every year. If they don't, the grapes go to Ardanza, but in 2010, the days were warm and the nights very cold and the grapes ripened thoroughly and could stand the long time in barrel without being oaky. They have stopped the last rackings to keep a little more freshness, and the wine feels phenomenal. This has to be one of the finest vintages for this wine. It's drinkable now but should also age for a very long time; it's intense, complex and elegant. A selection of 236 barrels were blended and bottled unfiltered in March 2017 into 61,643 bottles, 4,189 magnums and some larger formats. There will be a 2011 of this wine and then 2015 and possibly 2016 (but no 2012, 2013 or 2014). This is a very intense 890. Classicism in a bottle.
A fragrant nose of blackberries, plums, earth, dried flowers, leather, cloves, sweet tobacco and cigar box. Full-bodied with seamless tannins and fresh acidity. Balanced and layered with great tension. Elegant, with a velvety texture and a long finish. Such length and beauty now with so much age.