La Rioja Alta 890 Grand Reserva 2004
Medium-depth cherry-red with a pale pink rim. Very intense, clean aromas, with dominating balsamic and spicy notes —vanilla, caramel, chocolate mint and spices against a fruity background of prunes and dried apricots. Well-balanced in the mouth, with an elegant acidity, good structure, round, polished tannins and an oily finish. The aftertaste is ample and very long, with notes of sweet fruit and marked licorice. A wine that represents the elegance and classicism of Rioja Gran Reservas.
Wine Spectator - "Tea, tobacco, cedar and spicy notes mingle with deeper licorice, plum and iron flavors in this savory red. The texture is supple and polished, but there’s a firm tannic backbone. Focused and harmonious, in the traditional style. Drink now through 2024."
The Wine Advocate - "The 2004 Gran Reserva 890 is the top of the range here, a wine that is only released three/four times per decade in exceptional years. They start by sourcing grapes from their oldest vineyards and going through a slow process of aging the wine in American oak barrels for six years, with ten manual rackings, and each time there is a selection of only the best barrels. The bottled wine is 13.5% alcohol with a remarkably low pH (3.0) that to me means 'quality' of the acidity, which is a healthy six grams per liter (in tartaric). The nose is all about forest floor aromas, game, cigar ash, incense, old furniture and some smoked meat. The palate shows what the technical data was hinting--very fresh with slightly dusty tannins and nice acidity. It's polished, but feels livelier than some older vintages. Rating: 94(+) Points."
James Suckling - "Slightly dusty nose here showing ripe strawberries with savory and herbal undertones. Medium body, very silky tannins and a long and fruity finish. Beautiful length and finesse. The real deal."
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "Vivid red. The nose displays an array of ripe red fruits, pungent flowers and exotic spices, with vanilla bean and coconut accents building with air. Sweet, broad and luscious, offering intense cherry-vanilla and raspberry liqueur flavors that deepen on the back half. Shows excellent depth as well as finesse, with velvety tannins adding shape to the very long, gripping finish. This suave, seamless Rioja spent six years in American oak barrels."