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Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia Rioja Reserva Tinto, 2009

$57.99
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A blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha and 10% (combined) of Graciano and Mazuelo, aged 6 years in barrel and roughly another 5-6 in bottle before release. The Tondonia vineyard, the first acquired by the estate, has alluvial and limestone soils, like the soils of Bordeaux — the very style of wine that inspired this one. Firm, dusty tannins, hints of vanilla and prominent notes of berry, both fresh and dried. Excellent, balanced acidity and an elegant body.

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One of the many clichés employed by the wine world is the adjective “traditional”. However, there is one winery where that adjective very appropriately applies. Little about López de Heredia has changed in the more than 130 years since its founding. It occupies the same historic cellars and unlike most of their competitors, which are now owned by outside investors, López de Heredia is owned, and every detail of its operation is handled by the family who founded it.

Due to the way the industry has evolved in Rioja, most bodegas buy grapes from dozens of small growers, but not López de Heredia. They own every inch of the vineyards that supply their wines. In addition, they eschew any use of commercial yeasts and rely only natural yeasts present in their ancient cellar.

A visit to Lopez makes this all very clear. When you descend into the cellar you are met with a rush of cool air tinged with the telltale odor of penicillin. Carved out of solid rock, fifty feet underground, the cellars are at a constant 54 degrees, perfectly situated for the aging of wine and the cultivation of friendly microbes. The walls are black and wet with the occasional patch of white mold. Inside you will find 12,900 American oak barrels and 72 ancient fermenters as well as one of the worlds great collection of cobwebs.

The bodega is now in the capable hands of the family’s youngest generation—Maria José, Mercedes and Julio César. Yet, still nothing changes. In fact, these three are as philosophically committed to the winery’s traditions as their parents and grandparents were before them.

The wines are always masterful but in certain vintages can be transcendent. Lopéz labels their wines in all three rioja categories, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva. Technically almost all of their wines meet the regions criteria for Gran Reserva but as usual they do it the old ways, making Gran Reserva only in exceptional vintage.

Professional Reviews

Robert Parker

RP 93
"As with many wines this time, I had two vintages to taste of the Reserva from the Tondonia vineyard, 2009 and 2008, two very different, almost opposite vintages. The 2009 Viña Tondonia Reserva, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and 5% each Mazuelo and Graciano, matured in used American oak barrels for six years. It has some toasted character, with ripe fruit, black rather than red, denoting a warm year but more restrained than the Bosconia Reserva from the same vintage. 2009 is a year of ripeness, concentration and tannin; the wines are powerful, but here you see the finesse of Tondonia in comparison to the more rustic Viña Bosconia. It was bottled in May 2017." -Robert Parker

Details

  • Grape Variety

    Graciano , Grenache , Red Blend , Tempranillo

  • Vintage

    2009

  • Size

    750ml

  • Farming Practice

    Organic

  • Style

    Earthy , Oaky , Rich

  • Sweetness

    Dry

  • Body

    Medium Bodied

Customer Reviews

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