We are delighted to release the outstanding and highly anticipated La Rioja Alta, 2001 Gran Reserva 890. We recently released the truly fantastic Rioja Alta 904 2004, however, the 890 is Rioja Alta’s true Gran Reserva! In fact, La Rioja Alta deem the 2001 890 Gran Reserva as their greatest ever, leading them to apply the ‘Selección Especial’ designation for the inaugural time. This makes this wine truly special, collectible, yet the icing on the cake is that the 2001 890 Gran Reserva is that it also commemorates their 125th vintage, thus being adorned with a gold capsule. In Short the 890 Gran Reserva is the thoroughbred, more concentrated, more structured and denser than the super 904, it is, as the Wine Advocates’ Luis Gutierrez says ‘a darker shade of red and a somehow backward and reticent nose (relatively speaking) of forest floor, cold bonfire, antique shop, truffles, game, sandalwood, nutmeg and clove.’
The 2001 vintage is now considered among the greatest modern vintages of Rioja and Rioja Alta 890 2001 Gran Reserva is the very summit of what this region and moreover this vintage can achieve. The aging of the Rioja Alta 890 2001 is tireless, painstaking and lasted for a full 13 years with no expense spared. Firstly the wine is fermented in stainless steel vats and then moved to 100% new American oak for a full six years and racked 12 times (the 904 is aged in used American oak for four years and manually racked eight times). The 890 was then transferred to bottle in 2008 where it was stored until the estate felt it was ready for release. The result is an extraordinary wine and only 150,000 bottles have been produced in this vintage, which equates to 2,650 6×75 cases for the entire global market. One can expect the price to steadily increase over the next two to five years, the stunning 94 point scoring 1998 already cost £420 a six pack and the 2001 890 Gran Reseva could be their greatest ever.
La Rioja Alta
La Rioja Alta is one of the benchmarks for traditional Rioja. The Estate is celebrated for its Gran Reservas 904 and 890; the 890 is named after the genesis of La Rioja Alta in 1890. The Gran Reservas are only made in exceptional vintages and are considered to be the pinnacle of Rioja today.
The Estate begun in earnest in 1890 founded on the very spot where the head office is located today. Like most great estates, La Rioja Alta remain true to traditional practices, while integrating beneficial modern variances on the winemaking leitmotif. Their two wineries complement each other perfectly: The Haro winery is cited in the Station District and embodies the full flavour of traditional Rioja winemaking and the facility is perfect for ageing wines. The modern facility in Labastida was built specifically to provide the perfect environment for maximising the fermentation process.
The 360 hectare vineyards are located in the very best parts of Rioja Alta which boast limestone soil, in the subzones of Rodezno, Labastida, Briones, Cenicero and Fuenmayor. In addition they have a 63 hectare estate in Tudelilla in Rioja Baja to maximise the growth of Garnacha. La Rioja Alta harvest 5,000 kg/hectare, 24% less than the maximum permitted across the region, resulting in very high quality fruit. 80% of the vines are trellis-trained and the remaining 20% are goblet trained.
The growing season and harvest in 2001 was optimal for grapevine development. The winemakers were able to pick the fruit unhurried, leading to extremely healthy grapes that reached their peak development during harvest. The blend is 95% Tempranillo from vines over 40 years old from the municipalities of Brinas, Labastida and Villalba, beautifully complimented by 3% Graciano from the vineyards in Briones and Rodezno and 2% Maulo from the Melchoron I and II vineyards in Rodenzo.
The result is a wine which provides immediate pleasure, yet can age in bottle for another 40 years. It is a truly great Rioja, many believe it could be one of the greatest Rioja’s of the modern era!
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