Lopez de Heredia
Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2004
If there is one winery which represents history and tradition – not just in Rioja, but arguably for the whole of Spain – then it is Bodega Lopez de Heredia.
Its founder Don Rafael fell in love with the region and especially with the mythical area around the hilltop town of Haro. He recognised that there was a magical combination of soil and climate which would offer the perfect environment for producing a wine that would eventually become world famous. In 1877 he began the design and construction of what is today known as Bodega López de Heredia.
We visited the bodega last month and it was a very special experience indeed. The fermentation takes place in vast, impressive vats which are up to 140 years old. Beneath the winery is a complex network of underground galleries; hundreds of metres of slowly maturing, home-made barrels filled with ethereal liquid are kept for years before release. They take things to such a distinct level that their Reservas are aged for considerably longer than the minimal legal requirement for Gran Reservas – rather than 18 months + 5 years, they spend 5-6 years in barrel, then the same in bottle.
As Luis Gutierrez stated, “the quality gap between the Reserva and Gran Reserva has been getting smaller since the 2001 vintage”.