At long last, after La Rioja Alta president Guillermo de Aranzábal and winemaker Julio Sáenz made the difficult decision last year to delay the release of 2015 Gran Reserva ‘904’, we are pleased to offer the release of this world icon. This vintage is the first in the long history of the cuvée to be bestowed by the winery with the vaunted ‘Selección Especial’ label.
2015 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Selección Especial
|Bottle Size||750ml, 1.5L|
|Producer||La Rioja Alta|
The history of La Rioja Alta
The Bodega was formed in 1890 as a partnership of 5 quality-conscious growers keen to exploit the export potential for well-made, ‘modern’ Rioja. At this time, French vineyards were ravaged by phylloxera, and connoisseurs were having to look elsewhere for supplies of fine wine. Rioja, with its excellent climate and soils, had already attracted attention, and experiments with Bordeaux-style vinification and barrique-aging were proving very successful.
In 1904, La Rioja Alta absorbed Bodegas Ardanza, and gained access to some of the finest vineyards in the Rioja Alta district. The luxury 904 bottling commemorates this important milestone in the company’s development. The company owns 300 hectares of vineyards in different parts of the best zones of the Rioja Alta region and they specialize in making red wines. The wines are made in the traditional Rioja manner and are adamant about not using French oak and keeping the unique Rioja style, which has been developed since the end of the 19th century. La Rioja Alta has never let standards slip, and continues the tradition of careful long-aging, which gives Rioja its unique character.
About the wine: Gran Reserva 904 ‘Selección Especial’
The following notes have been adapted from La Rioja Alta’s technical information for the 2015 vintage.
Tempranillo (90%), selected from our vineyards in Villalba, Briñas and Rodezno.
Graciano (10%), selected from the Montecillo vineyard in Fuenmayor.
Harvest and production notes
Good weather throughout the year created balance in this wine, especially due to the sunny mornings and cold nights towards the end of ripening. Tempranillo was the first to be harvested, followed 23 days later by the Graciano from Montecillo. All the grapes were placed in small boxes and transported in refrigerated vehicles to preserve the integrity of the fruit. This vintage was the first that the grapes were optically selected, berry by berry, so only those that met our strictest quality standards were chosen for this wine. Alcoholic fermentation in tanks lasted 21 days and was followed by malolactic fermentation. In January 2016 we selected the finest wines to age them in American oak barrels with an average age of four and a half years and made by our own in-house coopers. After four years in these barrels and traditional rackings —by hand and candlelight— every six months, the final blend was bottled in February 2020.
The resulting wines are fresh with elegant acidity and balanced, silky tannins, making them perfect candidates for ageing.
Medium-high robe with an elegant garnet rim. Great aromatic complexity, with notes of wild strawberry, red cherry, plum, blackberry and cranberry combined with aromas of tobacco, brioche, ground coffee, caramel, cedar and cinnamon blossom. The alcohol and acidity are elegantly balanced on the palate and its polished, gentle tannins and freshness provide a smooth and refined mouthfeel. Fine, delicate and very long aftertaste, that will continue to be rounded with time in the bottle, making this new Gran Reserva 904 a wine with great cellaring potential.
Food and wine pairing
An ideal wine for the most special occasions and celebrations. Especially recommended with all kinds of meat and stews, seasoned fish and desserts with chocolate or red fruit toppings. Perfect as an after-dinner drink.
97 Points, James Suckling: A perfumed nose of plums, mulberries, mushrooms, caramel, sweet tobacco and sweet spices. Full-bodied with velvety, fine tannins and lively acidity. Balanced and supple with a creamy texture. Delicate and precise with a long, polished finish. 90% tempranillo and 10% graciano. Drink or hold. – February 2022
95 Points, Wine Advocate: They used the words subtlety, elegance, finesse, delicacy and silk to define the 2015 Gran Reserva 904 Selección Especial, a blend of 90% Tempranillo from their vineyards in Villalba, Briñas and Rodezno with 10% Graciano from the Montecillo vineyard in Fuenmayor that was picked 23 days later than the Tempranillo. The grapes were sorted optically for the first time, and they fermented in stainless steel where the wine went through malolactic too. The wine was put in barrel in January 2016—used American oak barrels built by their own coopers—where it matured for four years, during which time it was racked every six months. 2015 was a healthy vintage with balanced ripeness that delivered wines with good aging potential. They thought the wine needed a little more time in bottle to polish those tannins and have decided to hold it and release the wine around March 2023; it will be marked Selección Especial, the first 904 to do so, as they have very high hopes for this year and believe it’s one of the finest vintages. They think it will develop the sophistication in the palate with a little more time and that is should achieve the silkiness that is the signature of 904. This is very 2015; I saw quite strong tannins in all the 2015 wines I tasted from Rioja Alta. Drink: 2024 – 2035. – Luis Gutiérrez, July 2022