That 2015 is an excellent harvest for the wines of Rioja is evidenced by the fact that this most venerable of the region's producers will be bottling all of their gran reservas in this vintage, with the Gran Reserva 904 to be released later this year and the Gran Reserva 890 in four years' time.
This is only the third time a Viña Arana Gran Reserva has been released.
The blend here is slightly different in 2015, with the Mazuelo (i.e. Carignan) component having been replaced by Graciano, a grape that brings lifted aromatics and greater freshness to the wine.
Gran Reserva is the top tier of wine production in Rioja and producers of such wines are legally obliged to age them in barrel for a minimum of two years. Further, the wine cannot leave the bodega until the sixth year after the harvest, thus Gran Reservas are subject to further ageing in bottle before reaching the market.
2015 Viña Arana Gran Reserva, La Rioja Alta
£168 in bond per 6 Drink 2023-2035
"Brilliant ruby. Energetic, spice- and smoke-accented black raspberry and candied cherry aromas are complemented by suggestions of rose oil, coconut and cured tobacco. Youthfully chewy and focused on entry, offering concentrated red and dark berry, cherry cola and candied licorice flavors that deepen steadily with air. Floral pastille and oak spice notes linger on the impressively long, smoke-tinged finish, which shows excellent clarity and polished tannins." Josh Raynolds