La Rioja Alta, Viña Ardanza Reserva, 2000, Rioja 13%
The nose is all leather, fresh tobacco leaf, cedar and plum and just a hint of mushroom. It is dark and inviting, and the still purple tinged colour suggests it is still in great shape.
In the mouth, the effect is still of that tobacco leaf and cedar, but maybe more vegetal and leafy than in the very best vintages, and lacking the rich balsamic character created by the wonderful combination of aged, dark fruit and American oak. The tannins are soft, and there is a core of plummy, cherry fruit, but the effect here is slightly drying as it doesn’t quite have the fruit concentration to hit all the marks.
I wonder whether this will develop more, or whether, actually, it is better to drink up. I’m guessing the latter. 2001 was such a great year I imagine there are better examples still out there (I had a 1994 in a half-bottle not THAT long ago which was DELICIOUS) that maybe these other years should be appreciated now while we wait for them to reach their peak.