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(By Eve Bushman) In the elegant framework of the restaurant Wolfgang Puck at the Bel-Air Hotel, several somms, restaurant owners and wine buyers, as well as a few wine writers, were invited to learn about Vina Ardanza, celebrate in their 75th anniversary, taste vintages dating back to 1989 and enjoy a multi-course luncheon. (Hyperlink to photos from the event can be seen here.)

La Rioja Alta Celebrates Vina Ardanza

Mr. Guillermo de Aranzabal Agudo of La Rioja Alta and others shared some of the history of Vina Ardanza with guests at the event:

  • They “follow trends, not fashion” which is why their wines are aged for eight years before release.
  • Their price point has been reasonable year after year.
  • Grapes are hand picked, barrels are from American oak and constructed by the winery.
  • They are now on the third generation of employees
  • They only work with select distributors.
  • 1970 was the first of many highlighted vintages to come.
  • Ninety percent of the profits stay in the winery.
  • Learn more about Vina Ardanza here.

 

Tasting

Though I was a wee bit distracted seeing Chef Wolfgang Puck and Valentino Santa Monica owner Piero Selvaggio, I was able to give full attention to the wines that were shared.

Aromas and Flavors separated by ;

 

Mystery Wine

We had one sample that didn’t have a description. It turned out to be a 2012 Riserva not yet released. I got aromas of earth, mushroom, dried dark cherry and cigar; the mouth was a bit tart but still earthy with that same dried red fruit.

 

Vina Ardanza 1989

70% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, 5% blend of Mazuelo and Graciano

13.5% alcohol

What a treat to have an older vintage. Both the 1989 and 1994 (tasted below) were browner in color, indicative of age and nothing else. Aromas of plum, raisin, dried leaves, stewed fruit and pipe smoke; yummy red to blue fruit on the palate as well as bolder fruits – some tart – that provided a very long finish.

Read more here: Eve’s Wine 101: 75th Anniversary of Vina Ardanza