One of the great wineries in Spain, R. Lopez de Heredia began in the nineteenth century when French negociants visited the Rioja region to find alternative sources of quality grapes to transform into wine, since the phylloxera epidemic had decimated their vineyards. Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, a founded this Rioja winery in Haro, the capital of the Rioja Alta region which became the oldest in Haro and one of the first three houses in the Rioja region.
Having visited this winery a few years back I was overwhelmed with the striking history of the property. This is one of the only wineries I have ever seen where they have their own in-house barrel maker. Contrary to most wines on the retail market, R. Lopez de Heredia wines are aged considerably longer than most and they are only sold when the winemaker finds them to be drinking perfectly.
The new releases from this house were stunning. Look for the 2008 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Cubillo’ Rioja (WWB, 91) which is a downright awesome value out of Rioja, taken from a challenging vintage. The new 2005 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Tondonia’ Rioja Reserva (WWB, 94) is a downright stunner, showing amazing tension, as well as aromatic and flavor range. Learn more about this world class winery at http://www.lopezdeheredia.com/english/filosofia/filosofia.html Here are the gorgeous new wines by R. Lopez de Heredia
2008 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Cubillo’ Rioja- The 2008 'Viña Cubillo' by R. Lopez De Heredia comes from the vineyard Cubillas, which lies roughly two miles from the winery. Set on clay and limestone soil, the vineyard lies at more than 1300 feet. The final blending for this excellent wine was 65% Tempranillo with 25% Garnacho and 10% Mazuelo and Graciano which spent three years in American oak. This wonderful wine opens with complex aromatics of red cherries, raspberries and suggestions of prune along with smoke and pipe tobacco. On the palate this shows appealing flavors of pomegranate, teaberry, Mandarin orange rind and mulberry accents all wrapped in a silky and elegant frame leading into the finish. Overall, this is a well-made wine which should continue to show well over the next decade. Drink 2017-2026- 91
2004 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Tondonia’ Rioja Reserva Blanco- The 2004 Vina Tondonia 'Reserva' Blanco Rioja has a deep, golden hue and opens with a bright aromatic display of candle wax, candied ginger, honeydew melon and suggestions of toasted hazelnuts. The silky mouthfeel coats the mid-palate. Quince, Meyer lemon zest, marzipan and beeswax with cantaloupe flavors impress. The wood is rather intense but connects well with the richness of this wine. This is silky, rich and elegant Rioja Blanco from this storied estate. Drink 2017-2027- 93
2005 R. Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Tondonia’ Rioja Reserva- Coming from a downright awesome vintage, this new release by R. Lopez de Heredia is a compelling blend of Tempranillo (75%), Garnacho (15%), Graciano and Mazuelo (10%), all sourced from their estate vineyards. The wine was aged for six years prior to bottling. This great wine opens with a bright bouquet of leather, cranberry, orange rind, forest floor and suggestions of Chinese black tea. Showing incredible balance and poise, this wine shows off leather, red cherry, teaberry, Mandarin orange and pipe tobacco flavors that sit alongside brisk minerality. This is a stunner by Tondonia as the wine shows tremendous freshness and length despite obvious age. Drink 2017-2030- 94