The 2004 vintage is a lovely follow-up to the immensely popular 2001 Ardanza. Tried, true, and traditional (while being light on its feet and a lot of fun), Ardanza offers warm black cherry, stewed strawberry, and red plum on the nose, with cut green herbs and dry earth. Mouth-coating tannins on the palate, with tangy cherry, strawberry seeds, hibiscus tea, warm woodsy spice, dark soil, and a clean bright finish. The inclusion of 20% Garnacha from the Rioja Baja makes this cuvée both crowd-pleasing and food friendly, pairing well with any poultry, meat, or roasted root vegetable, but especially with smoky bacon and Basque cheeses like Osau-Iraty. -AR
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