WTN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

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WTN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Jude Fisher » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:18 am

TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Notes from a bottle consumed with dinner out, hence the infanticide:

Initially light, tight and skeined with both smoke and watercolor fruit.

The oak is quite evident in this but like a texture in the canvas rather than a layer of dripping paint it serves to underpin and enhance rather than to dominate.

Slight but definite gamyness to the nose: almost fetid but compelling like the rotten edge to mushrooms or serrano ham.

Like virtuous Victorian virgins these old fashioned Riojas give up their gifts only with the greatest show of reluctance - petticoat by petticoat.

Lip-smacking acidity frames and lifts. Something of a Degas ballet dancer in the combination of flounce and precision.

No wasted effort in the glass - not a single dial turned up too far.

In character and in structure this style of Rioja has more to do with Burgundy than any other wine I can think of.

Occasional pulses of ripe fruit.

Years ahead of this but absorbing and not difficult to drink even in its infancy.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:53 am

Ah, Jude, you reminded me of those André Simon tasting notes on the first wine books I ever read. I like the "petticoat" analogy very much.

Haven't had the '99 yet, but as a point of info for those of us in NYC, the '98 is popping up all over at substantially reduced prices. Apparently many stores weren't able to move it for the original asking price, a ridiculous $38, but now it's more in the $30 and slightly below neighborhood.

Young Ardanza can be quite corseted. With a few years, it turns into beautiful food wine, though.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Jude Fisher » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:58 am

Manuel Camblor wrote:Ah, Jude, you reminded me of those André Simon tasting notes on the first wine books I ever read. I like the "petticoat" analogy very much.

Haven't had the '99 yet, but as a point of info for those of us in NYC, the '98 is popping up all over at substantially reduced prices. Apparently many stores weren't able to move it for the original asking price, a ridiculous $38, but now it's more in the $30 and slightly below neighborhood.

Young Ardanza can be quite corseted. With a few years, it turns into beautiful food wine, though.


This was about 35 euros in a moderately priced restaurant here in Sevilla, and I've seen it at around 15 retail here. I was struck when we were talking about Albarino elsewhere at the enormous markup between retail here and retail in the States. There's shipping and duty of course, plus the currency conversion, but it seems to me that Spanish wines are marked up more than say French or Italian. This is just an impression and I might be wrong but it is perhaps the price of being a la mode.
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You're not wrong...

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:22 am

The mark-ups for Spanish wines on this side of the water never cease to amaze me. Just go here http://www.pjwine.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTG2&Store_Code=pjs&Category_Code=6+6 and take a gander at the prices. You'll notice that the average is in the $25-30 range these days, which places Spain rather outside the "Value Central" category. I purposefully chose that merchant, because I feel the prices there are someofthe most advantageous in town. You'll find many of the wines retailing for more elsewhere.

Hard to say who the greedy ones beind those mark-ups are. We just know there is greed aplenty.
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Re: You're not wrong...

Postby Jude Fisher » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:36 am

Manuel Camblor wrote:The mark-ups for Spanish wines on this side of the water never cease to amaze me. Just go here http://www.pjwine.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=CTG2&Store_Code=pjs&Category_Code=6+6 and take a gander at the prices. You'll notice that the average is in the $25-30 range these days, which places Spain rather outside the "Value Central" category. I purposefully chose that merchant, because I feel the prices there are someofthe most advantageous in town. You'll find many of the wines retailing for more elsewhere.

Hard to say who the greedy ones beind those mark-ups are. We just know there is greed aplenty.


Yes - the prices for the table wines are high. Nice source for Generosos though - the prices on the Barbadillo and Alvear seem much more in the range of a reasonable mark up.
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That's because...

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:41 am

That's because of Sherry's notorious difficulty of movement in these markets. The last remaining great wine bargains from Spain, they are.

Did I ever mention that, apart from López de Heredia and Sherry, Spain is pretty much dead to me, wine-wise?
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Re: That's because...

Postby Jude Fisher » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:45 am

Manuel Camblor wrote:That's because of Sherry's notorious difficulty of movement in these markets. The last remaining great wine bargains from Spain, they are.

Did I ever mention that, apart from López de Heredia and Sherry, Spain is pretty much dead to me, wine-wise?


I believe you may have mentioned this somewhere once or twice, yes.

To be honest I'm getting quite excited about the Albarinos I've been trying (of which more soon), Much more personality and interest than the majority of local reds I've had recently and a real sense of place, even if some of them are stylistically a little more demonstrative than I personally like.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:04 pm

Beautiful note, Jude. I havent seen '99 around here yet as most of the shelves have lots of '98. I'm still cradling my last few bottles of '96 as I just loved the depth and balance compared to '98.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:23 pm

'96 was a very nice Ardanza, round and with unusual plushness from the git-go, but also with lovely structure. I will now proceed to kick myself for not having stashed away a few. The '98 is a more angular wine, a reflection of the vintage. But time in bottle since its release (it's been around a while) has been kind to it.

I recently heard something about the proportion fo Garnacha in Viña Ardanza being decreased in subsequent vintages, but can't confirm it. Maybe it's just gossip.
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Which Albariños?

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:27 pm

Which Albariños, Jude? Spill, spill... I must say that I've been less than thrilled by many of the 2004s I've tried. Some decent wines, but nothing to shake me out of the genral funk I'm in regarding Spain. Fefiñanes was correct, but not especially exciting. Pazo Pondal, ditto. Don Olegario, from that new bodega on my map, was a bit confected and New-Worldishly tropicalistic. Granbazán didn't move me. Pazo de Señorans was rather limp.

All things considered, not a one of them made me think that I would not rather be drinking Muscadet. Or a nice Vin de Savoie.

M.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:31 pm

The '98 is a more angular wine, a reflection of the vintage. But time in bottle since its release (it's been around a while) has been kind to it
I had been shying away from '98 since having it on release but now I'll have to see if I can find some shelf-clearing sales. Thanks.
Less garnacha? It had been what, 20% or so? Does this rumor call for more tempranillo or maybe adding mazuelo or graciano?
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Good question...

Postby Manuel Camblor » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:49 pm

I'll contact my source and ask, but I'm inclined to say more Tempranillo, given the latter-day cultivar-undiversification tendencies of the region. But this is just speculation.

I saw the '98 at Sherry-Lehman for $31. It's still around, in plentiful quantities, and will probably remain so,since the price is rather much for what it is.

M.
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Re: Which Albariños?

Postby Jude Fisher » Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:15 am

Manuel Camblor wrote:Which Albariños, Jude? Spill, spill... I must say that I've been less than thrilled by many of the 2004s I've tried. Some decent wines, but nothing to shake me out of the genral funk I'm in regarding Spain. Fefiñanes was correct, but not especially exciting. Pazo Pondal, ditto. Don Olegario, from that new bodega on my map, was a bit confected and New-Worldishly tropicalistic. Granbazán didn't move me. Pazo de Señorans was rather limp.

All things considered, not a one of them made me think that I would not rather be drinking Muscadet. Or a nice Vin de Savoie.

M.


You'll have to wait for my round up (coming soon to a board near you, or more likely several boards !) for specifics but I doubt there will be any real surprises in there. I may well be easier to excite than you, and I am genuinely pleased to have found a segment of Spanish wines that, although largely modern in character, are not made from international grape varieties, can in their better instances express terroir and which are distinguishable from, in particular, oceans of New World wines. I always ask myself if I will bother to drink these wines when I leave Spain and the recent sampling of Navarra wines left me saying, across the board, why bother ? Albarino I would seek out - it may not be my absolute favourite seafood wine but it is another option, it is a taste of Spain and I haven't yet reached the point where I want to drink muscadet every single breaklfast-time.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Bob Henrick » Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:31 am

Manuel Camblor wrote:I like the "petticoat" analogy very much.

Haven't had the '99 yet, but as a point of info for those of us in NYC, the '98 is popping up all over at substantially reduced prices. Apparently many stores weren't able to move it for the original asking price, a ridiculous $38, but now it's more in the $30 and slightly below neighborhood..


Manuel, as I was reading Jude's report, I found myself thinking...Manuel HAS to see this. I knew it would be a wine that you would like or more than like. I wish we out here in the hinterlands never see wines like these, and it almost makes me wish I lived in NYC!
Last edited by Bob Henrick on Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby JoePerry » Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:31 pm

Great note, thanks Jude! You captured the essence of La Rioja Alta Reserva.

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Re: TN: La Rioja Alta S.A. Viña Ardanza Reserva 1999

Postby Jude Fisher » Mon Mar 27, 2006 3:47 pm

JoePerry wrote:Great note, thanks Jude! You captured the essence of La Rioja Alta Reserva.

Best,
Joe


Thanks Joe - it was just the drink talking ;)
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