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La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva Vina Arana 2014

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Mature wine offers special pleasures: elegance, complexity, the unique texture of tannins that have started to round with age. There's nothing like it. But what do you do if you don't have the space (or money, or time) to buy a bunch of young wines you love and wait for them to age?

Rioja is one of the last regions in the world that cellars their best wines until they're ready to drink. Not every bodega does it, of course. There are plenty of modern wineries that can't afford to age wine they could be selling.

But La Rioja Alta is one of Spain's great traditionalists and they don't rush their Gran Reserva. The 2014 Viña Arana Gran Reserva matured three years in traditional, old American oak, and then four more in bottle. It has had the time to develop savory, even umami flavors to balance the fresh Tempranillo and Graciano fruit flavors. The structure has hit that special place where it has enough acid and tannin to pair with Riojan meat dishes (fire up your roast suckling pig) but is also smooth and suave enough to sip on its own after dinner.

For all that complexity and depth, it is still a lovely, fresh wine. In fact, believe it or not, the Viña Arana is La Rioja Alta's youngest, freshest Gran Reserva. Their granddaddy of a Gran Reserva, the "890," is only released after 13 years! This is the bottle for you if you're looking to walk that middle path: mature and elegant, but still fresh and vibrant; not a bruiser, but not a lightweight either; absolutely ready to drink but, hey, still with more room to run if you were inclined.

With a classic Rioja nose of strawberries and a hint of vanilla balanced by earthy aromas, and a palate of red fruit, orange zest acidity and umami bass notes, this is an on-point classic.


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La Rioja Alta is one of the grand old bodegas of Rioja, based, as the name suggests, in the Rioja Alta subregion. Founded in 1890, it is located in the Barrio de la Estación area of Rioja Alta’s capital, Haro. There it clusters alongside other Rioja luminaries such as ultra-classical López de Heredia immediately opposite, Muga right next door, blending classical and modern styles, and the modernists of Roda a minute or two up the road. La Rioja Alta has long been a standard bearer of the classical style.

Professional Reviews

Antonio Galloni

AG 91
"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." -Vinous

Robert Parker

RP 90
"The aim with the 2014 Viña Arana Gran Reserva is to find a new Gran Reserva style that combines freshness and joy with intensity, sophistication and aging potential through a blend of Tempranillo with 6% Graciano that matured in American oak barrels for three years with rackings every six months. 2014 was a weaker year in the region, and the wine shows it and feels less vivacious than the 2015 Viña Alberdi. It has medium ripeness and abundant spicy and smoky notes and a medium-bodied palate with a soft texture that points at a wine for shorter-term consumption than the rest of the portfolio or other vintages from this cuvée." -Robert Parker


D 96
"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."


  • Grape Variety

    Red Blend , Tempranillo

  • Vintage


  • Size


  • Farming Practice


  • Style

    Fruity , Rich , Spicy

  • Sweetness


  • Body

    Medium Bodied