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La Rioja Alta
La Rioja Alta 'Vina Arana' Reserva - $25.95
La Rioja Alta
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The weather during the vine's growth cycle was ideal for ensuring the highest possible quality of grape, with no pests or fungal diseases in the vineyard and correct flowering, setting and turning. There was hardly any rainfall worthy of note in September, so the ripening process went unhindered. Harvesting started in the first week of October on the Viña Ardanza and Los Llanos estates (both in Fuenmayor). The grapes were picked in an excellent condition, with good sugar content and excellent colour parameters for high quality wine. 80% of the "coupage" is Tempranillo and the remaining 20% Garnacha. The 30-year old Viña Ardanza estate, where most of the Tempranillo comes from, is in Fuenmayor, in the Rioja Alta district. The rest is from a selection of our vines, also in Rioja Alta. The Garnacha is from Ausejo and Tudelilla, in Rioja Baja. Alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for 14 days at a maximum temperature of 28 ºC. The malolactic fermentation process was completed in 21 days and after racking the wine was transferred to casks in March, 2002. This Viña Ardanza remained in American oak casks, which were an average of 4 years old, for 36 months, being racked by hand 6 times. It was bottled in March, 2004. For the first time ever, it is also available in Magnum size. Alcohol content: 13.2% pH.: 3.47 Total acidity: 6.2 g/l (tartaric) Volatile acidity: 0.89 g/l (acetic) Serve at: 17 - 18 ºC. Medium-high cherry red robe, with orange tinted tones on the edge of the glass, clear and brilliant. Intense and complex to the nose. Wild berry aromas predominate, blended with hints of coconut, cinnamon, tobacco and leather. Full-bodied and well structured to the palate, with silky and enveloping tannins. Long after-taste acquired from its lengthy time in bottle, where its elegant bouquet gains in intensity. This Viña Ardanza continues to evolve without losing its traditional qualities.
(ree OH hah)—This region in north-central Spain makes the country’s most popular red wine from Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), Graciano and Mazuelo grapes. Rosado (rose) and white wines are also produced here. Traditionally red Rioja was aged for many years in small barrels made from American oak; this produced wines that were pale, gentle, and lacking in fruitiness. Current trends have been away from only oak aging and the wines are now much fresher tasting. In addition, the introduction of French oak barrels has contributed to its distinctive vanilla quality. The Rioja region is divided into three zones, the most well known being Rioja Alta. Alta-based wines tend to be firmer and leaner in style. Rioja Alavesa produces delicate, perfumed reds. Both Alavesa- and Alta-based wines are blended with wines from the third region, Rioja Baja, a somewhat warmer area that produces heavier grapes. The label of a Rioja will reveal much about the characteristics of its contents. Sin crianza Riojas receive no oak aging and are released young; they are Beaujolais-like, fruity and fresh. Some wines are aged for two years in oak or bottles; these are labeled crianza and, while still fresh and fruity, begin take on the famous oakiness. Wines aged for three years, at least one year in a barrel, are labeled reserva. These are often the most enjoyable of all Riojas. The most expensive wines are aged for five years or more, earning the status of gran reserva. The youngest Riojas pair well with seafood, spicy sausages, and Spanish-style bean dishes. The mature reds should be eaten with game, stews, and cheese.
This mountainous country possesses more vineyard land than any other country on earth, and ranks third in wine production after France and Italy. Spain is best known for its red Riojas and its Sherries, however other wines and regions are quickly gaining notoriety. Like France, Spain divides wine into categories; table wine at the bottom level and quality wine at the top, with a large emphasis on geographical origin. VdM (Vino de Mesa) is a basic table wine. VC (Vino Comarcal) wines are a level up. VdlT (Vino de la Tierra) refers to one of the country’s 25 distinct regions, and each wine possesses a local character. At the top level, only about fifty wines are considered DO (Denominacion de Origen). These wines come from the best-known regions and are the equivalent of France’s Appellation Contrôlée. DOC (Denominacion de Origen Calificada) is reserved for wines that adhere to the most stringent regulations. So far, Rioja is the only wine to gain the Calificada classification.
This Spanish grape gives wines deep color, low acidity and only moderate alcohol content. In recent years the Ribera del Duero region has been producing wonderful wines featuring this grape; in older, more traditional regions such as Rioja, the grape is blended with others.
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La Rioja Alta 'Vina Arana' Reserva
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