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The Society's Exhibition Rioja Reserva 2017

Red Wine from Spain - Rioja
4.692310000 star rating 13 Reviews
A Wine Champion in every sense this year, this bottling from La Rioja Alta scored top marks from every taster in the room, and was praised by Sebastian Payne MW as ‘stunning, absolutely fantastic’. A powerful, concentrated Rioja packed with dark fruits, toasty oak and a spicy finish.
Out of stock
Code: SP17221

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Tempranillo
  • 75cl
  • Now to 2025
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • bouquet/flavour marked by oak
  • Cork, natural

La Rioja Alta

Headquartered alongside Bodegas Muga in the Barrio del Estación, the old railway quarter of Haro – a popular location for wine exporters during the phylloxera crisis in France - La Rioja Alta is one of the most resolutely traditional of the region’s bodegas. It was founded in 1890 by a consortium of five families, including the Aranas, Ardanzas and the Alberdis (names now immortalised as Reservas. See below), and now commands an impressive vineyard portfolio of over 700 ha, comprising 470ha in the Rioja Alta, 65ha in the Alavesa, where Barón de Oña is produced, 63ha in the Baja, 74ha in the Galician denominación of Rías Baixas and 95ha in DO Ribera del Duero.

As the company expanded, it outgrew its premises in Haro, which now house corporate offices, a visitor centre and shop and a wine storage facility. The main business of La Rioja Alta takes place these days at its purpose-built winery in Labastida, a mile down the road, a strikingly handsome stone building completed in 1996. The fermentation tanks are set under the wooden floor of a stunning, light-flooded hall, the sparkling steel lids visible, and beneath them is a huge barrel-ageing cellar. It’s reckoned that La Rioja Alta have, at any given time, some 45,000 barrels on the go, and carry around eight years’ worth of stock. Sensibly, the company does its own coopering in-house. Oak is imported from Ohio and Pennsylvania, but there is little reverse traffic, the company’s second biggest export market after the UK being ...
Headquartered alongside Bodegas Muga in the Barrio del Estación, the old railway quarter of Haro – a popular location for wine exporters during the phylloxera crisis in France - La Rioja Alta is one of the most resolutely traditional of the region’s bodegas. It was founded in 1890 by a consortium of five families, including the Aranas, Ardanzas and the Alberdis (names now immortalised as Reservas. See below), and now commands an impressive vineyard portfolio of over 700 ha, comprising 470ha in the Rioja Alta, 65ha in the Alavesa, where Barón de Oña is produced, 63ha in the Baja, 74ha in the Galician denominación of Rías Baixas and 95ha in DO Ribera del Duero.

As the company expanded, it outgrew its premises in Haro, which now house corporate offices, a visitor centre and shop and a wine storage facility. The main business of La Rioja Alta takes place these days at its purpose-built winery in Labastida, a mile down the road, a strikingly handsome stone building completed in 1996. The fermentation tanks are set under the wooden floor of a stunning, light-flooded hall, the sparkling steel lids visible, and beneath them is a huge barrel-ageing cellar. It’s reckoned that La Rioja Alta have, at any given time, some 45,000 barrels on the go, and carry around eight years’ worth of stock. Sensibly, the company does its own coopering in-house. Oak is imported from Ohio and Pennsylvania, but there is little reverse traffic, the company’s second biggest export market after the UK being not the USA but Mexico.

La Rioja Alta excels in classically styled reservas and gran reservas which are given considerable cask ageing. What sets this bodega apart from other traditionalists is that the wines succeed in retaining striking vigour and fruit whilst undergoing their lengthy period in cask. They are released for sale only when fully ready to drink and always have an air of graceful maturity about them.

Three wines are produced at reserva level. Viña Alberdi is 100% tempranillo, aged for two years in cask, and two in bottle. Viña Arana is a blend of 95% tempranillo with 5% mazuelo, made in the supple 'Rioja claret' style and has three years in cask and two in bottle. With 80% tempranillo and 20% garnacha, and an extra six months in cask, Viña Ardanza is the most traditional-tasting and in exceptional vintages (to date, just 1964, 1973, 2001 and 2010) has the additional description of especial. The extended ageing which is winemaking policy here would normally qualify both Arana and Ardanza as gran reserva, but this designation is reserved for the two top-of-the range 904 and 890 bottlings. The former, is 90% tempranillo with 10% graciano, aged 4-5 years in cask and a further 4 in bottle. 890, made only in the best vintages and presented in numbered bottles, is overwhelmingly tempranillo (96%) with a little graciano and mazuelo and has a whopping 6-8 years in cask and 6 in bottle.

Not surprisingly, we source The Society’s Exhibition Rioja Reserva from La Rioja Alta. Two years in cask and then further ageing in bottle results in a complex and mature wine, the concentrated, silky fruit and cedary character of which have won it a great deal of critical acclaim in the press.

La Rioja Alta also has a Galician estate, Lagar de Cervera, run autonomously of the Rioja operation in the village of Fornelos. Here they make, among other things, superb albariño from 75 hectares of vines, the largest holdings of any Rías Baixas winery. They began with five hectares in 1988 and have acquired sites around the area as they became available, and in 2013 opened a new, state of the art winery.
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decanter.com

Silver medal, 91/100. Classic oaky, toasty, vanilla and coconut nose. The palate brings polished tannins, strawberry fruit, some spice and lots of American oak.

Decanter World Wine Awards

The Times

The Society’s Exhibition wines are its finest own-label range and wonderful value for money. Indeed, Exhibition’s sensational spicy, sandalwood, sweet tobacco and scented leather hug of a classically...
The Society’s Exhibition wines are its finest own-label range and wonderful value for money. Indeed, Exhibition’s sensational spicy, sandalwood, sweet tobacco and scented leather hug of a classically mature rioja reserva from celebrated La Rioja Alta by rights should cost you [much] more.
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Jane MacQuitty

The Times

The Society’s Exhibition wines are its finest own-label range and wonderful value for money. Indeed, Exhibition’s sensational spicy, sandalwood, sweet tobacco and scented leather hug of a classically...
The Society’s Exhibition wines are its finest own-label range and wonderful value for money. Indeed, Exhibition’s sensational spicy, sandalwood, sweet tobacco and scented leather hug of a classically mature rioja reserva from celebrated La Rioja Alta by rights should cost you [much] more.
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Jane MacQuitty

The Times

… gorgeous, spicy sandalwood and scented leather hug … similar La Rioja Alta reservas cost a tenner more.

Jane MacQuitty

Daily Mail

My brother-in-law Charlie is a massive Rioja fan and when he found out that this wine was made by the elite estate La Rioja Alta he asked me to save him a sip! Charlie’s smile is worth more than a couple ...
My brother-in-law Charlie is a massive Rioja fan and when he found out that this wine was made by the elite estate La Rioja Alta he asked me to save him a sip! Charlie’s smile is worth more than a couple of lines of tasting notes and I have to concur – it is nothing short of outstanding.
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Matthew Jukes

matchingfoodandwine.com

You might say with some justification that you can’t get a rioja for less than the £16 it costs but this is a particularly good buy, made for the Society by La Rioja Alta which normally charges a good bit ...
You might say with some justification that you can’t get a rioja for less than the £16 it costs but this is a particularly good buy, made for the Society by La Rioja Alta which normally charges a good bit more for its wines. It’s made very much in the traditional mellow oak-aged style and is drinking really well right now. It would be the perfect wine for Easter if you’re having planning to have roast lamb or beef.
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Fiona Beckett

Wiltshire Life

… a more oaky treat ...

Grant Berry

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