La Rioja Alta is one of the icons of Rioja, crafting benchmark, emphatic wines that are always a statement and definitive of the elegance, strength and finesse that is classic in this region. While they make great wines on either side of this price point, this wine grabs my attention every two years (they alternate vintages with another top-notch bottling, Vina Ardanza).
As always seems to be the case, the Arana displays an uncanny and striking fusion of brightness, depth and maturity. The initial aromatic attack of high-tone dark cherry leads one to believe that this is a young wine, but behind those initial notes are developed, nuanced balsamic, tobacco, caramel, incense and spice aromas which reflect a different and polar-opposite personality. It all comes together framed by elegant and rounded tannins on the finish.
Have this great wine with a rich beef or pork roast, or a grilled portobello mushroom.