Setting Standards for La Rioja Alta at Vina Ardanza By John Mariani

A while ago I wrote that Viña Ardanza is, overall, my favorite Spanish wine, one that expresses everything the terroir of the territory it springs from is at its best. And, after a dinner held by the winery to celebrate its 75th anniversary (below), at The Grill in New York City, at which several vintages dating back to 1989 were sampled, I’m more convinced than ever that this is a wine that shows how far Spanish viticulture has come in the past thirty years. I even recall, quite vividly, the first time I tasted Viña Ardanza. It was at Café Boulud in New York about a dozen years ago with my wife and older son, who, being new to fine wines, was dazzled by the Viña Ardanza. I bought him a case for his next birthday. Since then I’ve had various vintages on many occasions and in many places, for it’s long been available in the U.S. and always at a remarkable price of around $30. If I see it on a restaurant wine list and it seems appropriate to what I’m eating, I’ll almost always order it, if the price is right.

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