Wine Advocate 95
"The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion's share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014." ~ LG
"When I asked María José López de Heredia about their latest news, she simply replied, "We keep making Viña Tondonia as we have always done it." But the good news is that the rosé is making a comeback in the market, as the 2008 is released ten years after the harvest. The previous vintage was 2000, but there was a hiatus, as the market didn't support an oak-aged rosé with ten years of age, and they stopped making it. However, tastes changed again, and when demand came back, they had no wine to offer. It's the same as the rest of the other Gran Reserva wines, which will not come back into the market until 2021, with the wines from the exceptional 2001 vintage. I'm already counting down the days!
Here, the surprise is 2006, which in some parts of Rioja could be a bit warm but here is a lot fresher, and the wines are superb. They compared it with 2015, a year they like very much and think will have to be aged in barriques for a very long time. As for 2017, they had a big loss of volume because of frost.
Even if their wines are released at least ten years after the harvest, most of them will develop in bottle for years, sometimes decades, something I know well, but María José López de Heredia insisted on uncorking a rosé and a white from the 1970s that were singing." ~ LG
Lopez De HerediaView all from Lopez De Heredia
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 harvest, which provides added complexity and elegance to their Crianzas and Gran Reservas.
A rarity in Rioja, Lopez de Heredia uses only estate bottled fruit from their prized vineyards- Tondonia, Cubillo, Bosconia, and Zaconia- with the idea that the only way to get the best fruit is to care for the vines themselves. The Tondonia vineyard is their most famous; over 100 hectares, it is situated in a shell-shaped depression on the right bank of the river Ebro, where the most typical Rioja wines are grown. The soil is alluvial clay with a high proportion of limestone. Average vine age is 45 years old and organic farming and natural fermentations are implemented, creating wines that exhibit great terroir. Grapes from Viña Tondonia are always used in making their highest quality wines, with truly exceptional vintages becoming Gran Reservas. The first Reserva was bottled by the founder in 1890; a few bottles of this are still kept in the family wine museum.
The winery itself is a remarkable structure. When D. Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta began building the bodega in the late 1800's, little did he realise that his masterpiece would one day be acknowledged as an example to the rest of the industry of the most perfect combination of buildings and vineyards. Like many medieval masterpieces it is still incomplete. The buildings stand below and above ground, and are a veritable "cathedral to wine". Moving through the vaulted underground corridors and staircases, you find yourself travelling back in time, and the founder's touch can still be sensed in the very stones and fabric of the building.