Wine Advocate 94
"The 2004 Viña Tondonia Reserva is a completely different story. It is a worthy follower of the 2001, the greatest of the Viña Tondonia Reservas of recent times. It has the usual blend and usual levels of alcohol and acidity, bottled after six years in oak barrels. The nose feels savory (if that's possible–umami?) and developed, with tertiary aromas and good balance between spices, leathery notes, cherries and balsamic notes of cigar box and incense. The palate is both round and crisp, with refined tannins. It has very good balance with subtle acidity and very good persistence. 260,000 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!" ~ 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.