The years when the Ardanza Reserva gains the suffix Especial are rare indeed; in living memory there have been only three; 1964, 1978 and now 2001. These are deemed, explicitly as it turns out, to be extremely special years and it should come as no surprise that the 2001, even by Ardanza’s high standards, is out-standing.
As usual, this is a blend of 80% of Tempranillo and 20% of Garnacha, the latter high in comparison with the other members of the Rioja Alta portfolio, but lending the characteristic ripe and voluptuous notes which have long made this wine a favourite. The 2001 gives a little extra…extra balancing mineral acidity from the quality of the vintage and extra fine tannins from the 36 months of ageing, both adding further dimensions of excellence.
Tobacco, leather and spice vie for attention with the traditional and not entirely helpful strawberry and cream descriptor, rounded of by deeper more resonant notes to underline the seriousness of intent as the plot unfolds after the early seduction scene.
(Simon Field MW, BBR Buyer) La Rioja Alta
The 2001 Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha from their vineyards in Fuenmayor and Rioja Baja respectively and it represents only the third vintage to be declared after 1964 and 1973. Aged in American cask for 36 months, it has a bucolic, natural bouquet of bright red cherries, balsamic, mint and a touch of dried honey all with superb delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with wonderful delineation and supple, lithe tannins. The acidity is very well judged and it leads to a pert, tense finish of bitter cherry, loganberry and licorice. This is an outstanding wine drinking perfectly now, but it should age effortlessly. Drink now-2030.
Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com