[ Lopez de Heredia Rioja Reserva “Vina Tondonia” ]
[ Why We Love It: ]
There are many wine producers around the globe who extoll the virtues of tradition and history in the production of their wines, but Lopez de Heredia stands alone as an iconic caretaker steadfastly committed to protecting the viticultural and oenological heritage of Spain’s famed Rioja DOCa.
This belief system is not solely about processes and protocols in the vineyard and cellar, but – perhaps more importantly – also emphasizes the end product, or the idea that the great red wines of Rioja are characterful and distinct and stand apart from the sea of ubiquitous red wines that taste like they could be made anywhere and by anyone.
On the glorious and fortunate occasion when one pulls the cork from a bottle of wine made by Lopez de Heredia, there is no risk of suffering from the illusion that there is anything ubiquitous about the extraordinary nectar that spills forth with each glass. Vina Tondonia is the flagship bottling from a storied producer; a wine of exceptional pedigree and privileged terroir.
The Vina Tondonia Rioja Reserva from Lopez de Heredia is a profound wine showcasing a deep and concentrated core of red fruit flavours on the palate, delivering show-stopping complexity and nuance manifesting in the form of exotic aromatic spice, citrus rind and dried fruit. A serious candidate for the cellar, this is sure to age gracefully over the next decade or two.
[ Recipes & Food Pairings: ]
Cuban “Picadillo” Braised Beef – RECIPE
Lamb Meatballs w/ Green Raisin Pesto – RECIPE
Beef Tenderloin w/ Black Truffle & Foie Gras – RECIPE
[ Price: ]
[ Technical Specs: ]
Case Pack: 6 x 750mL
GRAPES: 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Mazuelo & 5% Graciano
[ Tasting Notes: ]
“From one of the warmest summers in recent history, the 2003 Viña Tondonia Reserva might not show that much heat as María José López de Heredia, this is a Viña Tondonia 6º año, a wine matured for six years and always a blend of grape varieties and vintages. It is legally possible to have up to 15% of wine from a different vintage as the one shown on the label. She says their wines do not vary that much from vintage to vintage because of this. The house blend is around 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho (notice the masculine use of Garnacha), 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo fermented in old (up to 140 years old) oak vats with natural yeasts (“we have never added any yeasts” was her answer). The wine has a canonical 12.5% alcohol and 6.5 grams of acidity. It matured in (used) barrels for six years and was bottled unfiltered. Even if they want to avoid the imprint from the vintage, it’s impossible to erase the effect of the torrid 2003. The wine is less Tondonia than the 2004, and the fruit is more obvious and forward. The palate is fuller than your average vintage, juicy and ripe. An approachable Tondonia Reserva to drink on the younger side. 245,000 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.com
“Cigar box, cedar and balsamic notes frame cherry, raisin and licorice flavors in this lean, firm red. Displays grip and focus, with firm tannins and orange peel acidity. The spicy finish is fresh and long. A traditional style. Drink now through 2023.”
Thomas Matthews / WineSpectator.com