2010 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja

SKU #1427459 98 points James Suckling

 Fresh blueberries and brambleberries take center stage, which is striking for a wine of this age. There are also lots of roasted herbs, such as sage, not to mention floral elements, including lavender and dried violets. Then come cedar, sandalwood and tar. The tannins are incredibly round and soft, without the slightest hint of anything dry. This is among the most elegant of Riojas, where the acidity is wonderfully pronounced and cuts right through any touch of dried fruit. Long and powerful, yet subtle on the finish. Drink now, or hold for a very long time.  (7/2019)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 It seems like yesterday when the superb 2001 was released, and now I already have the 2010 Gran Reserva 904 in my glass. It has to be among the greatest modern time vintages of this mythical bottling, where they aim for a wine that has a long aging potential. This is mostly Tempranillo with 10% Graciano and 13.5% alcohol, and it matured in fourth-used American oak barrels for four years, during which time the wine was racked every six months. It has the combination of elegance and power only the best vintages are capable of, with the classical aromas, great detail and nuance, very good balance and persistence. They consider 2010 among the best years of this century, and maybe future generations will talk about 2010 like we talk about the great classical vintages of yesterday today. The palate is polished but shows plenty of energy and tension, the tannins are very fine and elegant, and the flavors are focused and clean. This has to be one of the greatest wines from the vintage. A legend in the making. 150,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2015. Drink through 2035. (LG) 96+  (6/2019)

K&L Notes

Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta is arguably the traditional Rioja bodega whose entire range of wines is the most consistent, the most readily available, and the most delicious. Their "904" bottling contains Tempranillo and Graciano (no Garnacha) and is every bit as traditional. It sees aging in used American oak barrels for 48 months, racking twice a year, and then further aging in bottle. The wine always has a sumptuous, velvety texture, with more bass notes in place of Ardanza's higher toned, red-fruited profile. Does Gran Reserva Rioja get any better than this?


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By: Will Blakely | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/23/2019 | Send Email
I could not contain my excitement when I saw the new vintage hit our inventory, and this bottling did not disappoint. Toasty American oak gives this heft and a bold structure, but by no means overwhelms. Layer upon layer of ripe fruit, sweet flowers, warm earth, aptly balanced spice and savory herbs seem to extend further and further down a deep well of flavor the bottom of which I cannot find. The wine just keeps giving. It's still in its infancy, so I revisited it several over the course of 36 hours, sampling at as many intervals as I could manage. Every time, without fail, more complexity built up in the glass. So much life in it yet, I cannot wait to see where it will be in 20 years.

By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/9/2019 | Send Email
Complex on the nose. Effortless on the palate. This is a special wine. My first reaction to this was, "this is really *#@!ing good!" which I said aloud and it drew a few looks from my colleagues but when I told them what I tried, they nodded in agreement. This is great Rioja. There are layers and layers to the nose kind of like looking into a mirror with a mirror behind you, but for your nose, not your eyes! Effortless is perfect for this wine, every component is there, fruit, tannin, acid, oak, spice, earth, herbs nothing standing out, everything working together and what a finish. Way too much effort went into this review, thankfully there is a glass of this wine for me to enjoy now.

By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/9/2019 | Send Email
This is traditional Rioja through and through. Offering gorgeous aromas of dried blackberries, dark cherries, and vanilla, underpinned by a savory plumminess that begs your nose to go back for another whiff. The palate is silky and round, with sweet dark fruits, strawberries, pipe tobacco, and a splash of cola. You can pull the cork tonight or let it run for another two decades. This is a singular red for any occasion.
Drink from 2019 to 2040

By: James Bradshaw | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/9/2019 | Send Email
Believe the hype. This 2010 is every bit as good as the critics say. A classic Rioja from top to bottom, it greets the nose with aromas of Bing cherry, dust, lavender, and sage. The palate continues on this theme, further revealing notes of cedar, black raspberry, and herb de Provence. Strikingly youthful and with excellent zip and energy, it glides effortlessly across the palate. I have said it before, and it bears repeating, Rioja offers some of the very best value in terms of collectible, old-world reds. The 904 will be a great wine to follow over the years, as it's sure to gain and range, depth, and complexity. That said, it is such a joy to drink now; it'll be hard to resist popping the cork now.

By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/9/2019 | Send Email
This is one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year, and for me on a shortlist for one of the best buys in fine wine from anywhere. Copious aromas of dusty red cherry, leather, bay leaf, and crushed red flowers leads to a stunningly bright and fresh palate full strawberry coulis, burnt orange, and red raspberry. The mouthwatering finish carries on easily for a minute. There is so much in reserve, but I wouldn't blame anybody who gets a taste of this gem and decides to start opening bottles now. Enjoy anytime over the next two decades or more.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Tempranillo

- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.
Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Sub-Region:

Rioja

Alcohol Content (%): 13