Lopez de Heredia – one of the most venerable producers in Spain – produces traditional, age-worthy Rioja. Their wines are legendary and still made the way they were when the winery was founded over 130 years ago. Following a tradition that has been passed down through generations, their wines are released at least 5-10 years after the harvest, which provides added complexity and elegance to their Crianzas and Gran Reservas.
The 2001 Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva is the follow-up of the 1995. There is a sense of harmony and elegance, of nuance and subtleness that wasn’t quite the same in the Bosconia, as comparing both wines is inevitable. They started picking the red grapes the 15th of October, and the last grapes were picked the 29th of October with good weather. The grapes ripened properly and thoroughly, and the wine has great balance for a long aging in bottle. This is 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho and 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo that fermented in their 153-year-old oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in used barrels for 10 years. It has 13% alcohol, a pH of 3.4 and 6.4 grams of acidity (tartaric). The nose shows young (tasting it blind, you’d guess a 10-year old wine, not a 20-year-old wine!). It has a nose of sweet spices, underbrush and cigar ash, somewhat balsamic, bramble fruit with perfect ripeness, integrated and young but starting to show some tertiary complexity. The palate is velvety and medium-bodied, with fine-grained, chalky tannins denoting a limestone soil that brings finesse and texture and a sapid, tasty, almost salty finish. This is going to make a beautiful bottle of old Rioja in 30 years’ time! 25,000 bottles produced. It was bottled after being fined with egg whites in July 2012.