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Thoughts on the Gran Reservas of La Rioja Alta


I did finally get an answer. Slightly at odds with the Decanter piece, I suppose [not that I’ve read it], but apparently Pierre Mansour has rejected it for being too expensive!

I think he’s probably mostly right - it sounds like an investment wine to me… No reason not to offer it though, at a modest margin, I’m sure it’d be taken up.


When I was last in Haro Lopez De Heredia were talking about how great the 2005 vintage was for them. Different Bodegas but I thought I’d share, might not officially be in the same league as 2004 but still supposed to be excellent.

Personally I prefer the 904 to the 890. Not sure the 890 is worth the extra money.


I took delivery of the 2004 904 this week! I also have a 2007 CVNE, 2012 Baron de Ley and 2013 Muga (all Gran Reserva) on the stocks :slight_smile:


For me 01, 04, 05 each show the three examples of brilliant Rioja. 01 is quite an Atlantic vintage - long ageing, firm and difficult when young but rewarding when aged. 04 is a Mediterranean vintage - soft, supple and sexy that’s immediately appealing but will age well but not as long as '01 likely. 05 is a combination of both - immensely long lived (hence why it’s great for Lopez de Heredia) but also accessible in youth. 2015 is looking similar! All amazing vintages for differing reasons.


…sounds like we’re shaping up to the perfect excuse for a vertical tasting case!


Or just a fun dinner! 01,04,05 in RA904 and Tondonia


I’d be in Alex! Potentially add Ardanza too…

In general my experience matches what is described by @horsleym, ‘04s have been drinking rather nicely from very early on (I have demolished several 904s and reloaded), 01s have sometimes been a bit grumpy and in a sort of in-between stage, ‘05s seemed somewhere in the middle. All are likely to be better in at least a decade in my view.


Hi Oliver, yes. It’s one of those things where one can have exploratory dinners for while the wines are still available, or wait and have an event when the wines are ready/at peak drinking pleasure. Having said that, our 904 from 2004 was ready (if young).


I took delivery of 3 '01 Exhibition GRs, 1 '04 904 GR and 1 '09 904 GR, and I still have an '04 Urbina GR and an '04Exhibition GR as well as a bunch of various reservas. I don’t really like Rioja… honest! :wink: :rofl::wine_glass:


This thread has reminded me that I still have one bottle left of the Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial ‘89. I decided to keep one back to see how it fared at 30. I have the Ygay Reserva ‘94 and Vina Ardanza ‘94 too - both hitting 25. I sense a Rioja based dinner party early in the New Year…


Lucky guests! Fab wines…


I have a 1978 and 2005 of the Ygay… and don’t want to hang on too much longer either! Such a pretty label though…:heart_eyes:


Ygay GRe my favourite wine of all time, especially the 2001, and also my favourite label.

A big fan of the RA 904 too. My last 2 bottles of 05 will be drunk on Christmas day, some Tondonia’s in reserva (sic).

904~ This is one wine where the TWS price seemed off to me, 2009 904 is £44/bottle, I paid £38 from a local supplier and it was quite widely available at under £40. Unusual for TWS.


Maybe a question of timing? Was it more expensive at the time you bought or as per current listing? I’ve noticed a few prices slowly creeping up while the pound has been tanking post-referendum.


Exactly the same time.

I was going to order through TWS but checked my local supplier and was a bit surprised at the 15%ish differential.

The currency issues are clearly affecting wine prices across the board, but TWS was nearly always the cheapest or close enough as to make no difference. The 904 pricing was particularly noteworthy, but TWS doesn’t appear to offer the same pricing advantage that was the norm imo. Price isn’t the only part of the “value proposition”, but its probably most buyer’s primary driver?


Both the 890 and 904 have disappeared from the site, suddenly sold out or about to reappear in a fine wine promotion?