Full Pull The Apotheosis of Traditional

Hello friends. Many years ago now, I was introduced to the magical, ethereal Rioja wines of Lopez de Heredia by Javier Alfonso of Pomum/Idilico. I owe that man a debt of gratitude. Since then, I have taken every opportunity possible to purchase, collect, drink, and talk about these wines.

Offering them, however, has been more challenging, and as I look back at my records, the last time we offered a Lopez de Heredia wine was in 2012. That is borderline criminal, so I’m thrilled to have the chance to offer two classics from the portfolio today: one red and one white.

I’ll turn to Neal Martin of Wine Advocate for an introduction to the winery, because a) I love his writing; and b) he seems to love Lopez de Heredia as much as (and in the same way as) I do: [TEXT WITHHELD].

2004 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Reserva Tondonia

We have pricing today that is good as anything I see nationwide. And of course it’s rare indeed to have access to pristinely-aged 13-year-old wine from anyplace for a price in the $30s. Having accessed different vintages of this particular wine at various points along the ageing curve, I can say with confidence that a) there are pleasures to be had opening this bottle at any time during the next thirty-or-so years; and b) the more time this gets in bottle, the more it starts to converge with good old Burgundy. Multiple times in blind settings I’ve thought older bottles of Tondonia were great Burgundian Pinot Noir.

This bottling comes from the winery’s 100-hectare flagship Tondonia vineyard, which sits in a small bowl next to the Ebro river (here is a winter picture). The soil is clay and limestone. The wine is a blend of 75% Tempranillo and 15% Graciano, the remainder Garnacha and Mazuelo, and it gets six years in barrel before going to bottle. Meaning this was bottled in 2011 and has now had a subsequent five-plus years to evolve in bottle. And 2004 is the current-release vintage, to give you a sense of winery aging policy. The wine is a lithe, nervy beauty; a livewire of intensity at low (12.5%) alcohol; supremely beautiful. Look for a mix of dusty black fruit and loads of earth tones, especially mushroom and soil. The acid is clear as a bell, all blood-orange goodness; the tannin profile sneakier but offering a savory matcha finish for those paying attention. The overall package is a charming thrill ride for the senses.

Wine Advocate (Luis Gutiérrez): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

2006 Lopez de Heredia Rioja Blanco Crianza Gravonia
As with the ’04 Tondonia, we’re right in line with the best pricing nationally. It was actually an old Gravonia Blanco (the 1990 I believe) that was my first introduction to the winery. Yep, it was decades-old Viura that floored me first. This one gets four years in barrel, so it too would have been bottled in 2011 and seen a subsequent half-decade of further evolution. The moderately-oxidative style of white winemaking used here is not for everyone, but those of us who love it tend to REALLY love it. The aromatics are unmistakable: pineapple, a wintry/Christmasy spice mix, and brown butter. While the nose is unapologetically oxidative, the palate dazzles with its freshness and bright acidity, its double-take length. This is a special wine indeed.

Wine Advocate (Luis Gutiérrez): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in a week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: