About the Wine
This is peak Rioja. La Rioja Alta has been around so long that this estate is a large part of the reason that Rioja is what it is today. The Viña Arana is the flagship Gran Reserva of the estate, it commemorates the history and those that worked here throughout. With over 7 years since harvest, this bottle is drinking very well right now, but it certainly has the legs to cellar well for another decade. Whether you plan on drinking this daily or making it a special occasion bottle it is a very safe bet for deliciousness.
The Gran Reserva labeling in Rioja has very strict regulations on the amount of time that the wine spends both in barrel and in bottle prior to being released. This strict regulation gives us as consumers the opportunity to drink perfectly mature wines at their release. La Rioja Alta always overachieves these aging requirements, in place the estate opts to release the wine once it is firmly in the drinking window.
Aging: 4.5 Years in American Oak Barrels
Tasting Notes: 94% Tempranillo, 6% Graciano. Lively, clean, medium depth, garnet–red with an incipient pink rim. Intense aromas with outstanding notes of redcurrants, raspberries, wild blackberries, and ripe red plums creating a complex bouquet together with the balsamic notes from the barrel: vanilla, cloves, coffee, caramel, and brioche. Very tasty in the mouth, evincing the brand’s distinctive classic texture. Fresh, vibrant, and well-balanced, with amiable sweet tannin.
Arana commemorates one of La Rioja Alta's historic families. The Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%) are aged separately in American oak barrels for three years before blending, then for three years in bottle (two years less than the 904, and six years less than the 890). The winery's keynote to this Rioja is 'freshness'. I agree. ~96 Decanter
Lots of mushroom and walnut aromas with plum and leather, too. It’s full-bodied, but very soft and creamy-textured with lots of old wood, mushroom, and ripe fruit on the finish. Some chocolate and hazelnut. Complex and gorgeous. Drink or hold. ~96 James Suckling
La Rioja Alta is one of the most traditional wineries in Haro’s Barrio de la Estación, famous for producing wines that are good to drink on release, but also age beautifully in bottle. This new Gran Reserva, made from Tempranillo with 6% Graciano for added backbone, is very much a reflection of the cooler, more “Atlantic” 2014 vintage. La Rioja Alta didn’t make its top two Gran Reservas – 904 and 890 – in 2014, so all of its best grapes were used for Viña Arana. Fine and elegant, with vibrant acidity, notes of coconut and cinnamon from the American oak and a core of savory, refreshing tobacco leaf and red berry flavors framed by fine, caressing tannins. Old-fashioned Rioja at its glorious best. ~94 Tim Atkin
Limpid ruby-red. Oak-spiced cherry, black raspberry, candied rose, spicecake, and coconut aromas show very good definition, and pick up tobacco and licorice notes as the wine opens up. Smooth and appealingly sweet, offering sappy cherry cola, fruitcake, coconut, and floral pastille flavors complemented by an earthy undertone. Shows very good energy and floral lift on a long, smoky finish framed by velvety, well-knit tannins. ~93 Vinous Media
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