La Rioja Alta is one of the great old Rioja houses, best known for Viña Ardanza, long one of my favorite Riojas. The 2004 Viña Arana is winning me over, though. Made with 95% Tempranillo, rather than Ardanza’s 80% (the rest being made up with Garnacha and, in the case of Arana, with Mazuelo), the 2004 has a beautiful balance and grace. It’s all in there — dark cherries, licorice, leather and earth. Ready to drink now or put away for a while. Give this terrific Rioja some time in the glass for all its layers to show themselves.
Drink it with a chorizo-laden paella, with grilled meats, roast lamb or pork. If you can commandeer a suckling pig, this is the bottle for it.
The 2005 vintage, which is just appearing on the shelves now, is an excellent vintage too.
Region: Rioja, Spain
Price: $25 to $31
Style: Rich and structured
What it goes with: Grilled meats, roast lamb or pork, suckling pig
Where to find it: BestWinesOnline, (888) 817-8880, https://www.bestwinesonline.com; Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, https://www.missionwines.com; Wally’s Wine & Spirits in West Los Angeles, (310) 475-0606, https://www.wallywine.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, https://www.winex.com; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, https://www.winehouse.com.