Tag Archives: Snob bottle of the month

Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2004

Viña Ardanza 2004
Viña Ardanza Reserva 2004


Cost: $35.00

Where buy now: Thomas Liquors

Grapes: 80% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha

Region: Spain

Vintage: 2004


Yo estoy enamorado de vino de Rioja, Viña Ardanza. This baby will set you back a cool $35, but baby, it’s so worth it. I know, I know, my last wine choice was under $10 and this one is more than $30, what gives? All I can say is that my wine drinking habits are about as bipolar as I am. I never said I made sense.


I first experienced this wine last Fall at Terroir in TriBeCa, NYC. We were on vacation, and our mantra: fuck money, let’s do this right. While at the bar, I asked the keep what she’d been drinking lately. The gal poured me a taste of this wine.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “I do like Rioja.”


Swirl, smell, sip.

Swirl, sip.



Eyes rolled back in my head. Hot. Damn.


I asked for a full pour. She advised it was $18 a glass. You know what, I didn’t even balk. Not because I was on vacation, but because it was worth every penny.


A bit surprised, she blessed me with a very generous pour. I savored that pour for a good long while.


It haunted me.


Flash forward three months and I found myself at Thomas Liquors on a Saturday at 9:30 pm,  sneaking in during the last ½ hour of their wine sale. I’m perusing, grabbing comfort bottles here and there. Then, I looked up, and… There it was. Viña Ardanza Reserva Rioja 2004, sitting proudly on the top shelf. An overhead bulb mimicked that of a spotlight,  it’s gaze directly showcasing this glorious bottle. As if in a trance, I slowly extended my arm and gently reached for the bottle. Oh, I was so giddy!


I’ve written about other Riojas but not one of this caliber. A quick reminder Rioja is not a grape varietal rather it is wine made with grapes from the La Rioja region of Spain. Grape varietals include: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Macabeo. La Rioja Alta is a winery celebrating 125 years. Back in 1942, they registered Viña Ardanza (now their most famous wine) which is dominantly a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha.


This Rioja has all the moves! The foreplay, the love-making and the knee weakening orgasm all in one bottle. It embodies the weathered love of plump ruby red fruit in concert with rich, supple spice, vanilla and leather. This is balanced out by commanding, yet, soft tannins and a finish that does not over stay it’s welcome. Tastebuds flare in delight as the delicate tannins and acidity create structure telling you this is it – this is THE one. You tenderly swallow this wine, your heavy eyelids falling victim to the Rioja’s seduction. Eyes closed, you pause to catch your breath (not too fast- you don’t want to be selfish). However, your breathing begins to amp up again knowing you get to enjoy this moment over and over and over again (until you drain the bottle dry.)

Need a tissue?

Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel

Cost: Average price $35

Where buy now: Pairings – $21.99, France 44, North Loop

Grapes: Zinfandel

Region: Sonoma, California

Vintage: 2010

Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel

Nothing says, “Happy Birthday, America” like a big Middle Eastern feast, right! I kid, but really, it was great fun to pair different wines with ample amounts of delightful gyro meat, beef samosas, lamb kofta, grilled veggies and saffron rice. After we began the night with my choice of Prosecco [see this week’s white wine review for more about it], it was time to sit down and englut. My friend whom you may remember from the Merlot tasting, Mr. Encyclopedia, and his wife brought a couple reds, a Bordeaux and this gem of a Zinfandel from Seghesio, which he chose specifically to pair with lamb.


Seghesio Family Vineyards established itself as a winery in 1895. Throughout the years, they bought other vineyards and that is why you’ll see Seghesio wines labelled “Old Vines Zinfandel”, “Home Ranch Zinfandel”, “Rockpile”, etc. I won’t go into details, so you can read up more here http://www.seghesio.com

I’d had Seghesio Zinfandel a couple years ago and I remembered that it was great but couldn’t recall which vineyard it hailed from. However, Mr. Encyclopedia brought the Rockpile-grown Zinfandel, which proved to be exceptional. Rockpile is a narrow ridge about 1200 feet above Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County. This area along the hillside has well drained vines with shallow, rocky topsoil. What’s the big deal? Well, this terroir creates an intense and smokey Zinfandel that begs to be paired with BBQ and lamb.

The Rockpile Zin was opened for about an hour ahead of time. We poured glasses and clinked “To America!”

Cheers America

We piled meat upon meat and sprinkled said vittles with a smattering of hummus, baba ganouj, hot sauce and tzatziki. Each of us remarked how delicious it not only tasted but also how well it stood up to all the exotic grilled meats.


This wine is bold, but not in a “smack you on the face” sort of way. It has major fruit action, deep cherry and raspberry flavors, with smoke and spice. It wasn’t overly dry or tannic, just balanced and flavorful. I love Zinfandel but usually don’t buy one for more than $15. This one  is typically around $25, but it is sooooo worth it.