The wines of La Rioja Alta are back in stock! These beautifully crafted wines have been unavailable since February and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the new vintages. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed everything as cautious wine importers took a pause before bringing in new shipments, making sure they had a market for them.
La Rioja Alta, established in 1890 is one of the founders of high-quality winemaking in Spain’s Rioja region. With a woman president and a partnership of 5 quality-conscious growers, they were keen to exploit the export potential for well-made, ‘modern’ Rioja wines. Phylloxera was destroying vineyards elsewhere in Europe; by the 1900’s 70% of France’s vineyards were gone 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. Bordelaise winemakers and investors poured into Rioja and began producing wine for the French market, bringing new technology and modernizing Spanish oenology.
La Rioja Alta continues to this day the tradition of careful long-aging that gives Rioja its unique character. And though steeped in tradition, La Rioja Alta mixes old school techniques such as racking each barrel by candlelight while beginning a conversion of vineyards to organic and sustainable viticulture. The winery conserves water by recycling and reusing it and power is generated from their own solar energy farm. Treatments are limited in the vineyards and “microfauna shelters” are being installed in all of their vineyards, to house and protect insects that benefit the grapevines.
LA RIOJA ALTA WINES NOW IN STOCK:
Viña Alberdi Reserva Rioja 2015 ($20.99) We cracked open a bottle of 2015 Viña Alberdi to serve with lamb burgers the other night. This new vintage of Viña Alberdi offers up more concentration, complexity and structure than prior vintages. We loved it! 2015 was a very good year in Rioja, and this wine will continue to improve over the next 2-3 years. This is an affordable pleasure-filled wine; get a case of it! 100% Tempranillo from 40 year-old high elevation vineyards, aged two years in American oak. Winery tasting notes: Intense, medium-high depth, ruby-red; clean and bright. The nose particularly stands for its red fruit (raspberries, wild strawberries and red plums), which give way to notes of vanilla, nutmeg, caramel and cedar from barrel aging. Flavour-packed, balanced and very fresh, with smooth, friendly tannins. Harmonious, well-balanced finish, with a pleasant final freshness that invites you to continue enjoying this new vintage.
Viña Ardanza Reserva 2012 Rioja ($40.00) 78% Tempranillo from 30-year-old vines and 22% Garnacha from La Pedriza vineyard in Rioja Oriental. This 70 hectare property offers unbeatable conditions for growing this variety. Its nutrient-poor soil, covered with boulders, results in great varietal typicity, rich in aromas, with a pleasant, elegant structure. Winery tasting notes: Outstandingly bright, lively and intense garnet red, with an incipient cherry red rim. The first nose is very intense, with spicy, balsamic and ripe fruit notes. After swirling, aromas of black pepper, sweet liquorice, nutmeg, coffee, vanilla and cinnamon make their appearance. Mouth full of flavours, with a pleasant acidity and balance, and very polished tannins that enhance the harmonious structure. Complex and elegant aftertaste with spicy and balsamic hints. To enjoy right now, but with a long life ahead.
Viña Arana Gran Reserva Rioja 2014 ($46.00) Viña Arana is now a Gran Reserva – we think that’s fantastic! It’s a new style with freshness, intensity and ageing potential made of 94% Tempranillo and 6% Graciano. “This was aged in American oak for three years and bottled in June 2018. It offers crushed strawberry, field mushroom, clove and singed leather on the nose, hints of vine tomato and balsamic following with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, lithe tannins that lend this Gran Reserva its smooth veneer. Moderate in depth, it is classic in style and no bodybuilder. It remains rather understated toward the finish, offering soy-infused red fruit, sour cherries, orange peel, porcini and dried herbs.” 91 points Vinous, 96 points Decanter, 95 points Guia Penin
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Rioja 2011 ($80.00) The name “904” refers to the winery’s 1904 purchase of Bodegas Ardanza and acquisition of some of the best vineyards in Rioja Alta. Tempranillo (89%) from vines over 60 years old and Graciano (11%), aged 34 months in used American oak barrels. Winery tasting notes: Intense, deep cherry-red with a garnet-red rim. Intense and complex aromas, dominated by fruit (blackberry jam, raspberries and orange zest) that reveals underlying spicy and balsamic notes of cigar box, cedar liquorice, cloves, chocolate mints and toasted wood. Elegantly refined entry. Fresh and lively in the mouth, nicely balanced with polished, silky tannins and a gentle, delicate finish. Very long aftertaste, with citrus and balsamic notes that provide long, complex final sensations. The 2011 vintage was officially rated excellent.
SPECIAL OFFER on a three vintage vertical of La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva – $210.00 plus tax (Regular price $234.00 + tax). We’ve now got the following three vintages of La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva in stock. This would make a fabulous gift for a Rioja wine lover!
2009 Gran Reserva 904 ($77.00; 95+ points Wine Advocate)
2010 Gran Reserva 904 ($77.00; 96+ points Wine Advocate)
2011 Gran Reserva 904 ($80.00)
La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Rioja 2005 ($239.00) The 890 Gran Reserva is the top wine from La Rioja Alta, and it refers to the first wine that the winery ever produced which was called “Reserva 1890.” It is only produced in exceptional years. From a vintage officially rated excellent, the 2005 Gran Reserva 890 is 95% Tempranillo, 2% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano from the oldest estate vineyards. After a slow fermentation with indigenous yeasts, the best batches were selected and aged six years in barrels. During the aging process, additional selections were made, resulting 199 barrels of the final blend which were bottled unfiltered in 2012. “Cedar and sandalwood aromas give way to flavors of tea, tobacco, dried cherry, forest floor and orange peel in this expressive red. Round on the palate, supported by muscular tannins and juicy acidity. Big but graceful, mature yet lively, in the traditional style.” 95 points Wine Spectator, 98 points James Suckling Technical director Julio Sáenz says this vintage of 890 Gran Reserva is without a doubt, the best 890 the winery has ever produced.
Paris-Madrid Grocery remains open regular hours, 7 days per week for in-person, socially distanced shopping. Our hours are Monday-Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM and Sundays, 11 AM – 5 PM. If shopping inside the store, a mask must be worn as per the recent state mandate to minimize the spread of Covid-19. If you don’t have a mask, we have some available at the check-out counter, along with complimentary vinyl gloves and hand sanitizer. If you prefer to shop virtually, you may order online, or call the store with your order at 206-682-0679. No matter how you place an order, curbside delivery is available by request. To place an online order, visit parismadridgrocery.com click the orange Order & Pick Up button on the home page. A product list will pop up; you may place an order and designate a pickup day and time. We will call you for credit card details when we receive the order and you’re set!
We have a designated 15-minute free pickup and load zone in front of our store to assist with quick stops and on-line curbside pickups. Elsewhere on the street, the City of Seattle is now charging for parking but only $.50 per hour. Read here for the latest details about parking in Seattle during the pandemic.