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La Rioja Alta 904, vintages 2005 and 2007 compared

Both wines show bright, deep ruby colour with a tight tawny rim. On the nose, 2007 shows the purity of cherry and plum fruit, compared to the sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavours of the riper 2005 vintage. The 2007 secondary and tertiary tones hint leather and meat and notes from a spice cabinet reminiscent of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, where 2005 shows vanilla and potpourri, slotting in cedar balsam, lively citrus fruit and tea, which hare followed by notes of camphor, hints of mint, leather and hung game/smoke meat wrapped around a core of cherries in liqueur.

You see, both vintages do not make a significant entry. They are polished and harmonious- traditional red offers dried berry, vanilla, tobacco and spice flavours, with light, firm tannins and lively acidity-sort of classic Riserva Rioja. However, once the seat-belt fastened, this modest and understated palate rockets great concentration which accentuates tasty, mineral, almost salty favours framed by ultra-fine tannins and balance. Both are of very high scores(2005 RP96; 2007 WS97).

Tasting both La Rioja Alta 904 2007 and 2005 is going to be a roller coaster trip; this classic, old-school Rioja destined for a long, graceful evolution. A great Contrasts to the other Riojas from the same winery.

At this quality level, both are bargains. The Gran Reserva 904 is a superb blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano from several villages. Vines are like over 40 years old. Destemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless steel in the traditional method for 18 days at 25 C before spontaneous malolactic fermentation lasted 38 days, both wines used American oak barrels following the most strict Riojan tradition and manually racked eight times(2 times a year). There are very little filtrations with its natural character maintained.

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