Yet another Spanish wine worth mentioning has been poured into my glass. This one is La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva 2015 and it is this week’s Friday Cheers wine pick. I was first introduced to this wine through my sister who had the pleasure of trying it at Tavern on the Green, a NYC restaurant nestled within Central Park. She was so impressed with its smooth taste that she bought two bottles and gifted us one of them.

I couldn’t wait to try it…but first our menu. Since this was a red with medium-high depth and balsamic undertones we knew we would lean toward something heartier, like steak. We decided on a Bison Sirloin seared on the stovetop. To this we added a mixed green salad topped with beets, blue cheese, walnuts and a balsamic dressing, and a side of steamed broccoli. The dinner didn’t disappoint and neither did the wine. It was a perfect pairing!

To me the wine had outstanding balance and was pleasing to the palate. The nose was refreshing – from the highly complex blend of spicy and balsamic aromas of sweet licorice, patisserie (smells of pastries), vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, nutmeg to notes of stewed red fruit.

Viña Ardanza from the Rioja region of Spain is made from a blend of 78% Tempranillo grapes and 22% Garnacha grapes. The Tempranillo grapes come from 30-year-old vines and the Garnacha grapes come from old, goblet-pruned vines planted at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level. La Rioja Alta Winery, which is the world’s 4th most admired winery, ages their wines “the old-fashioned way”, three years in the barrel with two racking’s a year (moving wine from one vessel to another), followed by three years in a bottle.

One of the world’s most influential wine critics, James Suckling awarded this wine 96 points. He writes, “It’s medium-to-full-bodied with fine tannins and fresh acidity. Creamy, balance and layered with vibrant, spicy character. Long and polished.”

Medium-to full-bodied are wine tasting terms that reference how a wine is going to feel inside your mouth usually determined by the wine’s alcohol content. The more alcohol the heavier (more viscous) the wine, the less alcohol the lighter (less viscosity) the wine. This wine’s alcohol content is 14.5%.

In addition to the steak we enjoyed, this wine pairs well with roasted lamb, BBQ, large game, spicy fish casseroles, and smoked and aged cheeses.

Viña Ardanza Reserva 2015 can be purchased through many online wine vendors, such as,, and to name a few. The price varies from $35 – $44 per bottle.

A lovely addition to your holiday get togethers.

Hope you enjoy…cheers!