En Primeur vs Drink Now

Hi everyone,

So you’ve already spotted we’ve sent out an En Primeur offer for La Rioja Alta 2016:


And some of you might have also had a bonus suggestion in your email for a wine from this brilliant estate that is perfect to drink now, if you’re feeling impatient about waiting a year or so for your EP wines:

Part one of my query is: I was wondering if anyone has tried this wine in recent months and what you thought of it?

Part two of my reason for starting this topic is: I wanted to give a cheeky head’s up that this is the first of several mini En Primeur offers we’ll be sending out over the next few weeks. I can’t reveal what else is in the pipeline but there’s some pretty great stuff.

A lot of these EP offerings will also include a suggestion for a brilliant bottle to drink right now, for those eagerly awaiting their EP wines, so I’d be interested to hear what you think of the suggestions.

And I wondered: if you had to suggest some amazing fine wines which are perfect to drink now, what would you pick?


I think it’s a great idea to offer something in a similar style ready to go now in conjunction with EP. I’ve not tried the Ardanza, but would love to hear what others thought if they have, I’m sure my wish list has space for another wine.

Very excited to see what else is coming up (both EP and the ‘drink now’ options) but it does mean I won’t be considering the France or the Rioja Alta EP offers as I really shouldn’t be spending any more on wine until Christmas…

However, I’d much prefer it if that last phrase was taken as a challenge, come on TWS, test my willpower!!!


I really rate this Ardanza @laura, unfortunately I keep gifting it and have to continually purchase more. Its cracking value for money and a great suggestion.


Ardanza is a great wine, year in and year out. It would definitely be my benchmark Rioja

The quality seems to have stepped up a little more since they have sourced the 20% Garnacha from their own vineyards in Rioja Baja (now Oriental) in 2008.

The problem I have with Ardanza is it’s sheer drinkability - it is really tempting to crack through a half case or case in quick order when in fact there is also so much more to come. Whilst delightful now, it does gain much more complexity and pleasing tertiary notes. In my opinion qualitatively aged examples are just as good as 904, merely a matter of stylistic preference

An acquaintance once noted Ardanza is at its best around 21 years from vintage, and I would have to agree, subtracted a little for weaker vintages (eg 2000 which seemed at peak 2/3 years ago). A have left half my case of ‘05 in reserves to try and keep my hands off them.

I would say buy with confidence, but definitely stash some away for the future. I expect the 2010 which will surely follow soon will be even better!


I’ll second that, and have also put down my marker for a case of the 874. Very interested to see how that turns out, and think it will probably be a good one for the “never turn up empty handed” rack.

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Ardanza sets the standard for classic Rioja for me before you start spending silly money (don’t get me wrong it’s not cheap).

Look forward to the EP offers!

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Me too……… I think I need help :grimacing:


That’s my lot until Christmas I think.

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That is interesting…but it is very hard to hold on that long. I have only one bottle of the 2005 Ardanza left and it is so beautiful right now - silky soft tannins; strawberries, cinnamon and clove. We had a bottle of the 2009 the other week and it is certainly can be drunk now but has not developed the complexity it hopefully will; still feels a bit tightly packed right now…


Now you are testing my resolve on my ‘05s…


Agree with the majority - Vina Ardanza is an outstanding wine for the ££. Almost (if not completely) a Gran Reserva in all but name in many vintages.

I have a full case of 2001, which was declared a Reserva Especial, in bond which I picked up for a steal on BBX a few years ago. I’m somewhat reluctant to split it…

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Love the Ardanza and I also like the idea of providing the same or similar wines in EP and ready to drink at the same time. If nothing else it gives a chance to assess whether you want this particular wine EP and waiting on it for some time. Though in this particular case I suspect they are quite different wines (the 874 is 60/40 Tempranillo/Garnacha whilst Adranza is 80/20). Regarding the '09 Ardanza I have a couple of bottles but I’ve not tried them yet. My last ones were '04.

Slightly off topic, but relevant to Rioja Alta fans, on their own wines page on their site La Rioja Alta, S.A. the Vina Arana Reserva seems to have disappeared replaced with a Vina Arana Gran Reserva described as “New Style”. Is this something that varies from vintage to vintage or a permanent change to their range?

I think this is a permanent change.

It received good scores so personally, I am trying to find an excuse to do a tasting of, say, 904 2010, Arana 2012 and Ardanza 2009…

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Oh interesting! Thats one of my absolute favourites, i wonder if this will mean a price hike :roll_eyes:

Thanks, yes, a little further investigation on their site reveals:

La Rioja Alta, S.A. presents Viña Arana Gran Reserva 2012

Historic moment for La Rioja Alta, S.A. The Haro winery incorporates the new Viña Arana, (a brand that was registered in 1974 as a successor to the legendary 6º Año ) to complement its prestigious Gran Reserva 890 and Gran Reserva 904.

Its world launch is to take place this spring in the more than 50 international markets where La Rioja Alta, S.A. currently operates, while its official launch in Spain is scheduled for the autumn .

It seems likely. It’s interesting that the slightly cheaper Arana Reserva has been selected for this elevation rather than the Ardanza Reserva. This is the full description page:

Maybe we should divorce the La Rioja Alta discussion from this thread… on second thought it is the whole thread… not sure this was the original intention of @laura though

Yes I was just thinking that.