There’s something about López de Heredia, the ultra-traditional Rioja bodega. These are not easy wines, and require time. They are made in quite an oxidative way, and there’s no emphasis on fruit. But they are complex and intriguing, and their difficulty is part of their appeal, because they just age so well. This white Rioja is a blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia, and it’s aged for six years in barrel, being racked twice a year and then at the end it’s fined with egg whites. Unusually for a large Rioja Bodega, López de Heredia own their own vineyards (170 hectares in all). Tondonia is one of them, and is spectacularly situated on the banks of the Ebro.
López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco 2004 Rioja, Spain
Full yellow colour. Intense and vivid with piercing lemon and apple fruit with spice, vanilla and a touch of coconut. Powerful and complex with spice, lemony acidity. Structured and intense. This is just an adolescent, and it’s still a bit ungainly and awkward, but it has the potential to develop beautifully in the bottle. Unique and wonderful, but a little challenging in its youth: this will merit a higher rating in time, I’m sure. 93/100
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