2005 La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 890 Tempranillo
La Rioja Alta is a grand old estate founded (and still owned) by four wine growing families in 1890. The wines are produced from estate-owned, low yielding and old vineyards that are still produced in a very traditional way. The winery's commitment to quality extends to keeping all production of oak in-house, utilising their own cooperage on site.
Gran Reserva 890 is only produced a couple of times each decade, only when an exceptional vintage presents itself. The wine is composed of mostly Tempranillo, with tiny splashes of Mazuelo and Graciano. Maturation takes place for over 6 years in American oak, followed by a further 5 years in bottle prior to release.
Totally opaque black dark red colour with a brick red black tinged hue. Heady ripe blackcurrant infused with leather, black cherry and liquorice aromas unfold from the glass with notions of scorched earth, tobacco, vanillin oak, dried meats and spice also evident. Medium bodied, the palate combines a sense of elegance with tremendous power. Dried, dark and black cherry as well as liquorice fruits evolve into tertiary characters of earth, tobacco, leather saddle, dried meats, toasty vanillin oak and spice on the back half. Smooth and polished it finishes with well integrated velvety tannins and a long complex aftertaste that reveals some balsamic nuances. A beautiful expression of aged Rioja.
Drink over the next 4-5 years.
Shimmering garnet. Aromas of dried cherry, potpourri, vanilla, cigar box and exotic spices; a smoky mineral quality builds in the glass. Sweet, concentrated and seamless on the palate, offering cherry compote, red currant and rose pastille flavors that put on weight and pick up a spicy nuance on the back half. Conveys a suave blend of power and delicacy and closes sweet and gently tannic, with superb persistence and an echo of candied flowers and red fruits. This bottling and the 2001 are the only Selección Especial versions of the 890 Gran Reserva that have been produced by La Rioja Alta. Drink 2021-2036.
Josh Raynolds – Vinous
The aromas to this are stunning with dried strawberry, stone and fresh mushroom. Full body and very tight with incredible depth and structure. It goes on for minutes. One of the greatest ever? The new 1964? Available January 2018.
JamesSuckling.com (Jaunary 2018)
I tasted the 2005 Gran Reserva 890 again, and I liked it better this time than in my previous review, even if I normally like the Gran Reserva 904 better than this bottling, as I find it better balanced. I tend to feel less energy in this wine, as it spends a very long time in barrel, six years in this case. 2005 was an excellent vintage, and they implemented some improvements in the harvest, introducing 350-kilo boxes and refrigerated transport to the winery, which they think provides better grapes and potentially better quality of the wines. The palate is medium-bodied, the tannins have mostly melted, and it has lively acidity that lift the wine up. This is a very classical and polished Rioja. 57,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in March 2012. Drink 2019 - 2035.
Luis Gutiérrez - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (June 2019)
Cedar and sandalwood aromas give way to flavors of tea, tobacco, dried cherry, forest floor and orange peel in this expressive red. Round on the palate, supported by muscular tannins and juicy acidity. Big but graceful, mature yet lively, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2030.
Thomas Matthews - Wine Spectator (September 2018)