Go gaga for this Rioja

2008 Viña Ardanza, Rioja Reserva

2008 Viña Ardanza, Rioja Reserva, La Rioja Alta, Spain £49.99, magnums, reduced to £44.99 each if you buy six, Majestic Wine

The year 2008 will go down in the history books as a great vintage for Ardanza thanks to exceptional weather throughout the year and perfect conditions at harvest time. The garnacha grapes come from the La Pedriza estate in Tudelilla (Rioja Baja) at an altitude of 550m above sea level. They play a crucial part in this wine because the flavour is so good on account of a particularly long hang time on the vines.

As you would expect, the lion’s share of the blend is tempranillo (80%) and these grapes come from the 30-year-old La Cuesta and Montecillo vineyards, located in Fuenmayor y Cenicero. The tempranillo saw 36 months in American oak (averaging four years old) and the garnacha spent 30 months in two- to three-year-old barrels.

Bottled in 2013 and benefiting from a full decade of maturity today, this is a stupendous Rioja and one that perfectly sums up why we all, every so often, go gaga for this style of wine.

Add to this the small fact that this wine comes in big bottles and you are set for a very exciting time when you uncork one of these mags. If you are looking for early Christmas pressies for impossible-to-buy-for individuals, then this is a small price to pay for an incredibly impressive gift.