Win-Win. You can’t lose on this match up. Call it Ribera versus Rioja. I visited both regions this summer, unforgettable terroirs and these are their handsome Tempranillos at its best. Resalte is younger, from Penafiel founded in 2000, one of the hottest new wineries in Ribera del Duero. Some call Resalte the next big thing. When WS put it high on its Top 100, the demand knocked us out of stock, but we’ve got plenty now, a silky blend of black cherry, chocolate , licorice and espresso. LRA is much older, having 120 years of Rioja Alta tradition. From 2001, a great vintage in the Rioja Alta, with just right temps and dryness, LRA is older and aged longer both in barrel and botlle. That much time in barrel and in bottle lets a wine mature and develop gracefully. The Ardanza cuvee is 80 percent Tempranillo, 20 percent Garnacha and a big helping of patience to smooth out the big fruit flavors. They polish it with nuance and spice that I think of as Spanish: cinnamon, dried orange peel, cedar, tobacco and old leather. However old, they are both complex and long on the finish now and for ten to 20 years more in the cellar. But why choose one and deny the other? Buy both (at this price mix up a case) and get a luscious taste of Rioja and Ribera. You’re gonna want that.
2005 Resalte de Peñafiel Crianza, Ribera del Duero
“Fresh and focused, this firm red delivers ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit, backed by espresso and licorice accents, finishing with alluring notes of sous-bois and mineral…” 94 Points, Wine Spectator
2001 La Rioja Alta Reserva Especial Vina Ardanza
“a deeply colored wine with a lovely perfume of cinnamon, lavender, incense, balsamic, and black cherry. Medium-bodied, velvety-textured…” 94 Points, Robert Parker’s WA