2008 La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Reserva, Spain
In the La Rioja Alta SA winery’s range, the Viña Arana represents the entry level, the entry point to the universe of this producer often described as a Riojan Classic.
But there is no low-level mass production wines in the Rioja Alta’s portofolio.
This wine is still aged for over 3 years in American oak barrels (3 to 4 year-old ones). So this cuvée from the very good 2008 vintage wasn’t bottled before July 2012. It was then aged for another few years at the winery before release explaining why this 2008 is actually the latest release of this wine.
It is a blend, though very much dominated by a 95% Tempranillo proportion. The 5% Mazuelo (known outside of Rioja as Carignan) bring depth and a certain earthiness to the whole.
So how good is this 2008 La Rioja Alta Viña Arana Reserva?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
The wine is red, with a bit of an orange hue on the rim. Not overly dark, yet a rather intense color.
Charming nose filled with dark roasted notes. Cocoa argues with the coffee and the roasted hazelnut, while leather and spicy notes of cumin and clove are also singing loudly. There’s cherry and meat tones, vanilla, Provence herbs and coconut. A happy blend of fruit, spicy and savory notes.
And this complex intensity is without even moving the wine. Agitate the glass a little and your smelling receptors simply get bombarded with these grilled meat and herbs aromas coated in sweet oak characters.
Just tempting! So let’s sip in…
The palate feels fairly light compared to the nose’s aromatic intensity. All the flavors corresponding to the aromas described above are there in a medium-bodied wine, with medium plus tannins concentration. The Texture is quite granulous, and slightly drying on the finish. Great acidity and freshness from the fruit flavors that balance the savory and roasted notes.
A very good wine to get a taste of what a real Rioja wine can deliver: plenty of complexity and depth from great fruit flavors spices and American oak characters. Fairly smooth and definitely easy to drink and enjoy with food. For lovers of clearly European-styled wines: dry, filled with complex savory notes and a real regional typicity. Perfectly well executed.
Match with grilled meats, including herby and spicy ones, the wine can easily handle it and respond with its own powerful aromas. The acidity and drying tannins will coat the richness of fat meats very well.
Barbecues and other grilled or roasted (wild) animals won’t scare this wine.
When to drink?
This wine spent about 3 years and a half in oak at the winery, and has at the date of our tasting already spent nearly for years in his bottle. La Rioja Alta winery has already done the job of smoothing up this wine for you and making it ready to drink and enjoy now.
So it’s perfect to drink now (2016).
But given the wine’s structure, it will hold well for a good 5 years though, developing more and more savory and grilled meat notes with age.
See for yourself this wine swirling in a glass with this short video: