La Rioja Alta image

PRODUCER

LA RIOJA ALTA

Formed by five families in the late 19th century, La Rioja Alta has been among the leading producers who have established and maintained the style and standards of Rioja. It’s best known for its Tempranillo-led Gran Reservas, aged for remarkably long periods in barrels from the producer’s own cooperage. La Rioja Alta wines are exclusively distributed in the UK by Armit Wines…
SWITCH TO

PRICE TYPE

DISPLAYING 1 - 12 of 31

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOU

Image of wine Gran Reserva 904
BUY
TASTING NOTES

Rioja Alta’s Gran Reserva 904 stands out for its remarkable complexity and outstanding ageing potential. It is a classic Rioja which is released in exceptional vintage. The 2009 reveals a bouquet of great aromatic complexity. Cassis and wild berry characters give way to delicate spices and sweet balsamic notes.  The palate builds on the expansive aromas with concentrated sweet cherry...

more
BUY
Image of wine Viña Arana Reserva
BUY
TASTING NOTES

“The Viña Arana 2009 is a wine with that smooth, polished red colour typical of classic Riojas. Clean and bright in the glass, with light orange notes on the rim. Outstandingly intense nose, with light balsamic tertiary aromas of tobacco, caramel, incense and spices against a background of ripe fruit. Consistent and well-balanced in the mouth, with fine, elegant...

more
BUY
Customer Listing
Customer Listing
Image of wine Viña Ardanza
BUY
TASTING NOTES

The nose opens with warm earthy tones. Appealing spice sits alongside dried peel notes and hightoned fruit over a hint of leather The fruit is forward, and a touch juicier than in the past, underpinned by the same spicy notes found on the nose. A keen freshness knits everything together and the balance of this wine is impeccable. Drink from...

more
BUY

2008 Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta

Bottle 75cl £25.00 £20.00

Image of wine Viña Alberdi Reserva
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY
Image of wine Gran Reserva 904
BUY
TASTING NOTES

Rioja Alta’s Gran Reserva 904 stands out for its remarkable complexity and outstanding ageing potential. It is a classic Rioja which is released in exceptional vintage. The 2009 reveals a bouquet of great aromatic complexity. Cassis and wild berry characters give way to delicate spices and sweet balsamic notes.  The palate builds on the expansive aromas with concentrated sweet cherry...

more
BUY
Image of wine Viña Arana Reserva
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY
Customer Listing
Customer Listing
Image of wine Gran Reserva 890
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY
Image of wine Viña Ardanza
BUY
TASTING NOTES

The nose opens with warm earthy tones. Appealing spice sits alongside dried peel notes and hightoned fruit over a hint of leather The fruit is forward, and a touch juicier than in the past, underpinned by the same spicy notes found on the nose. A keen freshness knits everything together and the balance of this wine is impeccable. Drink from...

more
BUY

2008 Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta

Magnum 150cl £50.00

Christmas Boxes

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 225cl £90.00

Image of wine Christmas Boxes
BUY
TASTING NOTES

The ultimate Christmas gift, this special La Rioja Alta mixed case is presented in a bespoke wooden gift box and contains 1 bottle each of the following: 2008 Viña Alberdi, Viña Arana Reserva 2006 and Gran Reserva 904 2009.

more
BUY

Christmas Boxes, La Rioja Alta

Bottle 225cl £90.00

2009 Viña Arana Reserva

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 75cl £22.30

Case of 6 £133.80

Bottle 37.5cl

Single bottle£13.00

Case of 12 £156.00

Image of wine Viña Arana Reserva
BUY
TASTING NOTES

“The Viña Arana 2009 is a wine with that smooth, polished red colour typical of classic Riojas. Clean and bright in the glass, with light orange notes on the rim. Outstandingly intense nose, with light balsamic tertiary aromas of tobacco, caramel, incense and spices against a background of ripe fruit. Consistent and well-balanced in the mouth, with fine, elegant...

more
BUY

2008 Viña Ardanza

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Double Magnum 300cl £150.00

Magnum 150cl

Single bottle£50.00

Case of 6 £299.98

Bottle 75cl

Single bottle£20.00
£25.00

Case of 12 £240.00
£299.98

Bottle 37.5cl

Single bottle£15.00

Image of wine Viña Ardanza
BUY
TASTING NOTES

The nose opens with warm earthy tones. Appealing spice sits alongside dried peel notes and hightoned fruit over a hint of leather The fruit is forward, and a touch juicier than in the past, underpinned by the same spicy notes found on the nose. A keen freshness knits everything together and the balance of this wine is impeccable. Drink from...

more
BUY

2008 Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta

Double Magnum 300cl £150.00

2009 Viña Arana Reserva

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 37.5cl £13.00

Case of 12 £156.00

Bottle 75cl

Single bottle£22.30

Case of 6 £133.80

Image of wine Viña Arana Reserva
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY

2007 Viña Ardanza

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 37.5cl £14.30

Image of wine Viña Ardanza
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY

2007 Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta

Bottle 37.5cl £14.30

2008 Viña Ardanza

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 37.5cl £15.00

Double Magnum 300cl

Single bottle£150.00

Magnum 150cl

Single bottle£50.00

Case of 6 £299.98

Bottle 75cl

Single bottle£20.00
£25.00

Case of 12 £240.00
£299.98

Image of wine Viña Ardanza
BUY
TASTING NOTES

The nose opens with warm earthy tones. Appealing spice sits alongside dried peel notes and hightoned fruit over a hint of leather The fruit is forward, and a touch juicier than in the past, underpinned by the same spicy notes found on the nose. A keen freshness knits everything together and the balance of this wine is impeccable. Drink from...

more
BUY

2008 Viña Ardanza, La Rioja Alta

Bottle 37.5cl £15.00

2007 Viña Ardanza, Anniversary deal

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

This product is only available from customer listings

Case of 12 x 75cl £301.20

Customer Listing
Image of wine Viña Ardanza, Anniversary deal
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY

2004 Gran Reserva 904

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

This product is only available from customer listings

Case of 6 x 75cl £303.60

Customer Listing
Image of wine Gran Reserva 904
BUY
TASTING NOTES

Enticing scents of balsam, spice, leather and coconut lead onto a silky smooth, medium-bodied palate with more notes of leather, spice, coconut and chocolate. A very elegant mouthfeel with layered complexity, a well-rounded palate, good grainy tannins and linear acidity running through the core. Incredible length on the finish with lingering notes of spice and roasted coffee. Structured, extremely elegant...

more
BUY

2000 Gran Reserva 904

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

This product is only available from customer listings

Case of 6 x 75cl £375.60

Magnum 150cl

Case of 6 £967.18

Customer Listing
Image of wine Gran Reserva 904
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY

2011 Viña Alberdi Reserva

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 75cl £18.00

Case of 12 £215.98

Image of wine Viña Alberdi Reserva
BUY
TASTING NOTES

more
BUY

2001 Gran Reserva 904

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

This product is only available from customer listings

Case of 6 x 75cl £285.60

Case of 6 x 75cl £303.60

Customer Listing
Image of wine Gran Reserva 904
BUY
TASTING NOTES

Perfumed scents of tobacco, tea leaves, balsam and spice. Velvety smooth on the palate with excellent depth and complexity with more layered flavours of leather, spice and balsam with polished tannins and refreshing acidity. This is a beautifully crafted, extremely elegant wine with great depth, finesse, structure and longevity. It has been cared for and nurtured at the La Rioja...

more
BUY

1998 Gran Reserva 904

La Rioja Alta

In Stock

Bottle 75cl £74.60

Image of wine Gran Reserva 904
BUY
TASTING NOTES

Tasted in October 2014. The 904 Gran Reserva 1998 brings out the best of the vintage; one of Rioja Alta’s finest in the 90s, as displayed by the quality of the 890 release from the same year. The nose exhibits dark and rich notes of dried berries, purple flowers, tobacco, vanilla and the smallest note of orange rind. The palate...

more
BUY
SWITCH TO

PRICE TYPE

DISPLAYING 1 - 12 of 31

In 1895, five enterprising families in Rioja Alta came together to form a company which would take local Spanish winemaking to an altogether higher level. Responding to the phylloxera crisis in Bordeaux, the families realised that, by banding together, they could offer a commercially viable way of filling the gap in supply of complex, well-structured red wines, based at a bodega in Haro’s Barrio de la Estación - the station quarter, which made export by rail fast and efficient.

Over the following decades, the Sociedad Vinícola de La Rioja Alta established and maintained the characteristics of what have become classic Riojas- particularly bright fruit and long oak ageing. Gradually, the company took control of every aspect of winemaking, not only controlling the winemaking and maturation but acquiring their own cooperage and bottling facility and, by the 1970s, instead of buying the bulk of their grapes from small growers, vinifying their own fruit.

La Rioja Alta takes oak very seriously. At the beginning, the company acquired French oak, as thousands of barrels were sitting empty in Bordeaux, with no wine being produced to fill them. Nowadays, La Rioja Alta imports American oak and dries it for two years before its craftsmen construct barrels by hand at the cooperage in Haro. Every six months, the wine is racked - again by hand, and under candlelight, in order to disturb the wine as little as possible.

Not that upholding standards and tradition means that La Rioja Alta’s philosophy is one of conservatism. From the start, the company was prepared to break conventions. Its first president was a woman - Doña Saturnina García Cid y Gárate - and its first cellar master a Frenchman, Albert Vigier. These days, in addition to Haro, there is also a state-of-the-art winery at Labastida, with a serious research and development division - as you might expect when the chief winemaker, Julio Sáenz, originally qualified as a pharmaceutical chemist. The new winery doesn’t have the history of the original bodega in the traditional heart of Rioja, but it is a beautiful stone building, with the fermentation tanks covered by a wooden floor, their steel lids poking out for inspection. Over 125-plus years, La Rioja Alta has evolved without losing its identity.

Indeed, the first wine produced by Vigier was the Reserva 1890, the predecessor of today’s Gran Reserva 890. Another Reserva - the 1904, which celebrated the year when one of the investors, Daniel Alfredo Ardanza y Sánchez, merged his own Ardanza winery with the Sociedad - lives on in the Gran Reserva 904. Both of these retain remarkably vigorous fruit despite (typically) five or six years in oak.

It is too simple to say that the Gran Reserva 890 contains Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano; the Gran Reserva 904, Tempranillo and Graciano. The Rioja Alta region has such varied soil - some limestone, some clay, others iron-rich, still more stony and sparse. When this is added to the company’s parcels in Rioja Baja and Alavesa, it means that Julio has a great palette to paint with. He can take grapes from Finca Las Cuevas in Rodezno (Alta), Finca La Cuesta in Cenicero (Alavesa) and La Pedriza in Tudelilla (Baja), which are each fermented separately, and apply his great skill, which is in blending.

In addition to the Gran Reservas noting important dates in its history, La Rioja Alta also commemorates three of the founding families in Viña Ardanza, Viña Alberdi and Viña Arana. The most renowned is Viña Ardanza, a wine which is oak-aged long enough - the Tempranillo for 36 months, the Garnacha for 30, to retain freshness and aroma - to qualify as a Gran Reserva but for La Rioja Alta’s standards only qualifies as a Reserva (apart from in exceptional vintages such as 2001, when it becomes Especial).

La Rioja Alta has expanded beyond the bounds of its own province, and acquired wineries in other parts of Spain. In Rías Baixas, on the Galician coast, it owns Lagar de Cervera. The pretty winery on the banks of the Tamuxe river is a lovely, relaxed place to visit, and produces a fragrant Albariño with a fine balance of minerality and stone fruits. Along with La Rioja Alta’s Reservas and Gran Reservas, wines from Lagar de Cervera winery and two others owned by La Rioja Alta - Torre d’Ona in Rioja (read more here) and Aster in Ribera del Duero (read more here) are imported to the UK exclusively by Armit Wines.

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7908 0655 web@armitwines.co.uk

drinkaware.co.uk