Winespectator 94, James Suckling 96,
Rated 95 points 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.
La Rioja Alta, one of the classical wineries in the Barrio de la Estación in Haro, has started converting ten hectares of their vineyard to organic farming, which is a welcomed move. But it’s only a small step that I hope they continue and accelerate, as they own some 420 hectares of vineyards that are the only source for their approximately 1.4 million bottles. The wines are classical Rioja, with plenty of spicy oak, very recognizable. They are currently releasing wines from some very good vintages, like 2010 and 2005.