Rioja Gran Reserva, 'Viña Arana', La Rioja Alta
The basic grape variety is Tempranillo (95%) from Las Cuevas, El Palo and Las Monjas vineyards in Rodezno complemented with 5% Graciano from the Montecillo estate in Fuenmayor. We started the grape harvest with the Tempranillo and, 17 days later, we picked the Graciano in Montecillo, the last plot we harvested. All the grapes were placed in small boxes and taken to the winery in refrigerated transport to preserve their integrity. Alcoholic fermentation took place in tanks, taking 16 days for the Tempranillo and 18 days for the Graciano. Malolactic fermentation took place spontaneously and, in March 2013, the selected wines were transferred to American oak barrels (made in-house) with an average age of 3 years. During the three years the wines were aged, they were racked every six months. The final blend was made in March 2016, combining both varieties until that magnificent balance that sets the first Viña Arana Gran Reserva apart was attained.
Press & Reviews
Lots of mushroom and walnut aromas with plum and leather, too. It’s full-bodied, but very soft and creamy-textured with lots of old wood, mushroom and ripe fruit on the finish. Some chocolate and hazelnut. Complex and gorgeous. Drink or hold.
Finally, there was the 2014 Viña Arana Rioja Gran Reserva, which comprises 94% Tempranillo from Las Cuevas, El Palo and Las Monjas and 6% Graciano from Montecillo. This was aged in American oak for three years and bottled in June 2018. Exhibiting just a modicum of browning on the rim, it offers crushed strawberry, field mushroom, clove and singed leather on the nose, hints of vine tomato and balsamic following with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, lithe tannins that lend this Gran Reserva its smooth veneer. Moderate in depth, it is classic in style and no bodybuilder. It remains rather understated toward the finish, offering soy-infused red fruit, sour cherries, orange peel, porcini and dried herbs. My parsimonious score reflects the fact that I found the balsamic trait to be accentuated and a little too pronounced with aeration.
Arana commemorates one of La Rioja Alta's historic families. The Tempranillo (95%) and Graciano (5%) are aged separately in American oak barrels for three years before blending, then for three years in bottle (two years less than the 904, and six years less than the 890). The winery's keynote to this Rioja is 'freshness'. I agree.