2009 Vina Ardanza, La Rioja Alta Reserva, Rioja, Spain (750ml)

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This 2009 Viña Ardanza is a blend of 80% Tempranillo from 30 year old vineyards in Rioja Alta (which is also the name of one of the three zones of Rioja; Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa being the other two) and 20% Garnacha from even older vineyards in Rioja Baja. The Tempranillo was aged for 36 months in American oak barrels with an average age of 4 years while the Garnacha was aged for 30 months in 2-3 year old American oak barrels. Once the varietals were blended together, the wine aged for an additional year in barrel before being put into bottle in 2011, where it rested for another three years before release. The end result is a Rioja of great character with pleasant aromas of cedar, coconut, milk chocolate and dried berries on the nose. Those elements also come through nicely on the medium-bodied palate with densely packed flavors of more red berries and black cherry. The wine concludes with a melange of woody and forest floor notes and that nice kiss of chocolate on the finish.

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