Wine Advocate 94 Points
Cropped from a vintage deemed almost perfect, the 2005 Viña Ardanza Reserva follows the same varietal mix found in the last vintages; 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha. The grapes are always sourced from the same vineyards, 30-year-old Tempranillo from Fuenmayor and Cenicero in Rioja Alta and Garnacha from Tudelilla in Rioja Baja. In the case of the 2005, it was racked six times during its elevage. The one bottle I tasted first was a bit evolved with plenty of cigar ash, incense and leather along with hung game (woodcock came to mind). But the palate was drying out a bit. Another bottle showed much fresher, with a great classical Rioja profile. This is very affordable making it a superb value for what it delivers. 600,000 bottles were produced of the prodigious 2005 vintage. This wine is not produced in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 or 2013.
La Rioja Alta celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2015. Last year, I only tasted three wines from La Rioja Alta and I tasted six this time. The quality is as good as ever, with superb wines from the almost-perfect 2005 vintage coming into the market. Great Rioja, as traditional as it gets, in good quantity and moderate (and often plain great) prices.-LG
Wine Spectator 92 Points
This traditional red offers dried cherry, orange peel, tobacco and sanguine flavors in a silky texture, supported by light, firm tannins and balsamic acidity. Focused and fresh, with a juicy finish. Drink now. 50,000 cases made. –TM
Vinous 92 Points
Deep ruby. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of red fruit preserves, vanilla, mocha and fresh flowers, with a hint of pipe tobacco coming up with air. Sappy and broad on entry, then more taut in the middle, with sweet cherry-vanilla and spicecake flavors given lift by juicy acidity. Closes smooth, spicy and long, with lingering smokiness and fine-grained tannins adding grip. A touch more lively than the excellent 2004 version of this wine and of equal quality, which makes it an outstanding value in old-school Rioja.-JR