2012 Vina Ardanza, La Rioja Alta Reserva, Rioja, Spain (750ml)

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This 2012 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 2015, where it rested for another three years before release. The end result is a Rioja of great character with lasting potential. The nose stands out for its fresh, spicy character, with hints of sweet cherries, redcurrants and ripe strawberries assembled with notes of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, mocha and cinnamon. Intense and well-balanced in the mouth, with a soft freshness, nice structure, and delicately elegant tannins. Silky finish, with a good aftertaste, where sweet red fruit and balsamic notes give it a broad ending.

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