Rave Review: eRobertParker.com on 1995 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Gran Reserva “Vina Tondonia” Red – 97 Points!
“The only current red Gran Reserva is the 1995 Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva, the one that is produced exactly the same as before, including fining with egg whites and sealing with red wax. 1995 was an excellent and early harvest, the grapes achieved full ripeness and were harvested under the sun during two weeks starting October 9. The wine, which exceptionally achieved 13% alcohol, is the usual blend, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo (Cariñena). Like all their wines, it fermented with indigenous yeasts in old oak vats and as a Gran Reserva it matured in old American oak barrels for ten years! Yes, it was bottled in November 2006 and launched in 2015, a full 20 years after the harvest. This light-colored, ethereal 1995 is the essence of Viña Tondonia. It has developed aromas and complexity gained with the time in bottle, of incense, leather, cured meat, cherries in liqueur, cold bonfire and spices. The palate is super-tasty, with fully-resolved tannins and very good acidity. The texture is super-fine, sophisticated and ethereal with gob-smacking balance. Intense, powerful and elegant, too. Hard to believe, but this red feels too young and while approachable, I’d wait a couple of years or more because it will be much better. The profile follows the style of the great classics of the 1950s and 60s. Bottles like this are the ones that created the López de Heredia myth. This could be lighter than the 1994, but in the long run I believe the 1995 will be the better bottle. 24,687 bottles produced.
I knew I was in for a treat when I received the list of wines to taste from María José López de Heredia, as with my 16-month cycle of tastings, sometimes I get two vintages of the same wine, which is the case here with no less than five labels. Wines going from strength to strength in the more strict Riojan classicism. The annual production is 400,000 bottles, and that’s not enough to satisfy global demand. As it usually happens, I tasted through the collection of wines while María José López de Heredia didn’t stop talking about their history, Rioja, their family and everything in between. Great tasting and great wines. Congratulations!”
— Luis Gutierrez / eRobertParker.com