95 points James Suckling
"Traditional and beautiful in character with plum, balsamic, orange-peel and leather aromas and flavors. It's medium-to full-bodied with creamy texture and a long, intense aftertaste. Drink or hold."
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"Garnacha is an important component in the 2012 Viña Ardanza Reserva, where it represents 20% of the blend (the rest is, of course, Tempranillo). 2011 was a difficult vintage for Garnacha, so Viña Ardanza was not produced that year and they jumped from 2010, which had the mention "Selección Especial," to 2012, where it returns to the regular Reserva. The wine is a prototype of polished and aged Rioja with a ruby color with some orange and a developed nose with subtle aromas of decayed leaves, sweet spices and some cherries in liqueur even, quite complex and harmonious. The palate is velvety but rich, with resolved tannins and a fine chalky mouthfeel, sleek and elegant, terribly balanced. The flavors are pure and defined, and there is an overall sense of harmony that I like very much. Brilliant Ardanza! They produced no less than 600,000 bottles of this wine, which is remarkable. It has been in bottle since March 2016, so it's very approachable but should also age nicely in bottle. Drink or keep. (LG)"
Vinous Reverie Notes
Importer: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha. About: The La Rioja Alta story begins July 10 1890 when five Riojan and Basque families who shared a passion for wine, founded the ‘Sociedad Vinícola de La Rioja Alta’. Thus began an exciting business venture whose founders enthusiastically shared the dream of making and ageing top-quality Rioja wines. The region with a winemaking tradition dating back thousands of years benefited from the arrival in the late 19th century of French winemakers who had been affected by the devastating phylloxera. At this time, French vineyards were ravaged by phylloxera, and connoisseurs were having to look elsewhere for supplies of fine wine. Rioja, with its excellent climate and soils, had already attracted attention, and experiments with Bordeaux-style vinification and barrique-aging were proving very successful.
Few dispute that La Rioja Alta S.A. is the leading quality orientated producer in the Rioja. With more than 50,000 casks and 6.4 million bottles stored at any one time, the equivalent of about 8 years sales, La Rioja Alta S.A. is unique in its ability to supply large quantities of fully mature wines of world class quality.
The company owns 300 hectares of vineyards in different parts of the best zones of the Rioja Alta region. La Rioja Alta S.A. is specialized in red wines. The leading grape variety is the Tempranillo with small doses of Mazuelo and Graciano. The Vina Ardanza differs from the other wines with some 25% Garnacha in the blend. After vinification in the new ultra modern vinification plant near Haro, aging is in traditional Bordeaux casks, all made from American oak. Racking is by hand every 6 months with 8 teams working full time racking the 51,000 casks. There is no filtration prior to bottling and further long aging in bottle before release.
In short the wines are made in the traditional Rioja manner. The company is adamant about not using French oak, keeping the unique Rioja style which has been developed since the end of the 19th century. In spite of the varying amount of time in cask and bottle the wines all display a wonderful rich ruby colour, gorgeous aromas of oak, spices and fruit followed by a sensational feel on the palate, with a wonderful smooth texture, clean rich oaky/fruity flavours and a long lingering finish. All the wines are ready for consumption on release but will keep for many more years in bottle. This situation is almost unique in the world of wine and is the reason why so many restaurants list La Rioja Alta’s outstanding range of truly classic Rioja wines.