Today’s Story: R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia
López de Heredia Viña Tondonia is a family-run winery established in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta after he fell in love with the Rioja Alta region, particularly the area of its capital Haro. Don Rafael began designing and constructing his winery in 1877, and today it exists as the oldest in Haro and one of the first three in Rioja. Knowing he needed to own his own vineyards to ensure higher quality wines, Don Rafael added his namesake Tondonia vineyard to his holdings in 1913-1914 and it consists of 100 hectares on the right bank of the Ebro River. Since, the winery grew to encompass three more vineyards named Viña Cubillo, Viña Bosconia, and Viña Zaconia. The estate is noted for its buildings as well, since the López de Heredia family expanded them with each passing generation. The estate spans 53,076 sq m, with 19,718 sq m of buildings including underground cellars up to 200m long and 15m deep which help store around 14,000 oak barrels for aging. When it comes to winemaking, all harvesting is accomplished solely by hand and the fruit is treated very delicately in baskets made at the winery’s cooperage. In the cellar, the López de Heredia family follows traditional winemaking methods passed down from generation to generation.
For more information as well as pictures and an overview of the López de Heredia portfolio of wines, check out their very detailed website here.
Today’s Wine: 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva
75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacho, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo; 13% ABV
The 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva is mostly opaque medium ruby in color. After reading recent commentary on this, I decided to decant the wine for 9 hours with little tastes along the way. At hour 5 this was starting to show nicely, but at hour 9 this thing is singing. The nose showcases aromas of black cherry, brambleberry, black raspberry, licorice, leather, forest floor, truffle, ground herbs, cardamom, black pepper, and oak. On the palate, I get notes of ripe cherry, red plum, stewed strawberry, tobacco, scorched earth, truffle, graphite, dried green herbs, chocolate, and slight oaky spice. This is medium- to full-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (+) tannins, and a long finish.
Price: $40 (cheaper in Europe). LdH is always an incredible value, and this bottle is no different. The wine is beautifully complex and textbook Rioja, while being remarkably age-worthy. I’d say give this another 5 years or so in the cellar and drink it over the following 2 decades. Pair this with herb-roasted lamb, roasted pheasant, or Manchego cheese.