1995 Lopez de Heredia, Viña Tondonia Red, Rioja Gran Reserva 1995

$144.99

Decanter 97/00: The archetype of a great wine, having gone through a soft, long ageing: spicy complexity, undergrowth tones, a caramel touch. Suave, light but stylish, velvety, smoky subtle finish. A great experience, with a long life ahead. Drinking Window 2019 – 2055

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 97/00: “The only current red Gran Reserva is the 1995 Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva, the one that is produced exactly the same as before, including fining with egg whites and sealing with red wax. 1995 was an excellent and early harvest, the grapes achieved full ripeness and were harvested under the sun during two weeks starting October 9. The wine, which exceptionally achieved 13% alcohol, is the usual blend, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo (Cariñena). Like all their wines, it fermented with indigenous yeasts in old oak vats and as a Gran Reserva it matured in old American oak barrels for ten years! Yes, it was bottled in November 2006 and launched in 2015, a full 20 years after the harvest. This light-colored, ethereal 1995 is the essence of Viña Tondonia. It has developed aromas and complexity gained with the time in bottle, of incense, leather, cured meat, cherries in liqueur, cold bonfire and spices. The palate is super-tasty, with fully-resolved tannins and very good acidity. The texture is super-fine, sophisticated and ethereal with gob-smacking balance. Intense, powerful and elegant, too. Hard to believe, but this red feels too young and while approachable, I’d wait a couple of years or more because it will be much better. The profile follows the style of the great classics of the 1950s and 60s. Bottles like this are the ones that created the López de Heredia myth. This could be lighter than the 1994, but in the long run I believe the 1995 will be the better bottle. 24,687 bottles produced.”

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Description

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.

Don Rafael López de Heredia acquired the Tondonia vineyard from a group of clergy in 1913. Situated on the right bank of the river Ebro, in Rioja Alta, it stretches over 247 acres; the soil is alluvial clay with a high proportion of limestone. There are 4 varieties of red grapes planted in this vineyard—Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano and Garnacho—as well as a few acres of white grapes (Viura and Malvasia) planted in the whitest soils, from which R. López de Heredia makes their Tondonia Blanco.

Tondonia represents the bulk of their production.

As with all wines produced by the bodega at the time (Viña Zaconia, Viña Medokkia and Viña Bosconia), Don Rafael López de Heredia named Viña Tondonia after the old term for this large meander on the River Ebro in which it is situated, Tondon (from Latin retondo). The proximity of the Viña Tondonia estate invites the visitor to stroll down the old mediaeval road that led to the Basque Country from La Rioja, crossing the Briñas Bridge. Viña Tondonia is in fact a group of vineyards belonging to the bodega, located in the meander of River Ebro, that were bought and amalgamated by our founder.

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