2005 La Rioja Alta S.A.Gran Reserva 890 Rioja DOCa Spain
Medium-high intensity, garnet–red with a cherry rim. The nose stands out for its fresh, spicy character, with hints of sweet cherries, redcurrants and ripe strawberries assembled with notes of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, mocha and cinnamon. Intense and well-balanced in the mouth, with a soft freshness, nice structure, and delicately elegant tannins. Silky finish, with a good aftertaste, where sweet red fruit and balsamic notes give it a broad ending. Pair with roasted lamb, red meats, barbecues, large game, spicy fish casseroles, smoked and aged cheeses.
Rated 96 Points James Suckling
Dried cherries, cedar, sandalwood, tar, treacle tart, cinnamon and vanilla. Medium body, fine-grained and very silky tannins for a wine of almost 10 years of age, bright and transparent acidity and a long, very spicy finish. Like going back in time and touching an ornate tapestry. The texture is mesmerizing. Drink now.
Rated 95 Points Tim Atkin
2010 was a "spectacular year", according to Julio Sáenz, and who am I to disagree? This classic Rioja combines Tempranillo from La Rioja Alta with 20% Garnacha from the Rioja Oriental and it's a beautiful red: aromatic, savory and balsamic with deftly handled American oak and the freshness of a cool vintage. 2020-28
Rated 95 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
2010 was a great vintage in Rioja in general and seems to be exceptional here, with a 2010 Viña Ardanza Selección Especial (what used to be Reserva Especial) that can challenge any of the recent vintages and hopefully can develop in bottle to reach the heights of years like 1973 or 1964. The wine is expressive, aromatic, very elegant and clean, with classical Rioja aromas of long aging in barrel and slow oxidation through the years in wood. The palate is polished and sleek but shows plenty of energy, with very fine, mostly resolved tannins and very good harmony and persistence. There is great complexity, and you could start smelling spice and smoke to move to earthy tones, hints of beef blood, cherries in liqueur, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. A great Viña Ardanza! They have managed to produce 600,000 bottles of this—and apparently in one single lot. It was bottled in May 2015.
Rated 94 Points Wine Spectator
Polished and graceful, balanced and lively, this red offers cherry, dried strawberry, cedar, spice and vanilla flavors that mingle over light, firm tannins and orange peel acidity. The silky texture and juicy flavors find a graceful middle ground between the traditional and modern styles. Tempranillo and Garnacha. Drink now through 2025.
Rated 91 Points Decanter
An inviting nose of wild strawberry is heightened by hints of dark chocolate. It's refined and old school in style, yet silky-smooth, stylish and persistent - perfect now.