2006 Viña Tondonia Tinto, Reserva, Bodegas R. López de Heredia, Rioja, Spain

2006 Viña Tondonia Tinto, Reserva, Bodegas R. López de Heredia, Rioja, Spain

Product: 20061152566
Prices start from £135.00 per case Buying options
2006 Viña Tondonia Tinto, Reserva, Bodegas R. López de Heredia, Rioja, Spain

Description

I have said it before and I will say it again: the first sniff of Tondonia Tinto Reserva always makes me smile – and the 2006 is no exception. Reassuringly “Tondonia”, the nose exhibits the classic characteristics of sweet strawberries and leather, yet it is bright, perfumed and vibrant at the same time. It has wonderful complexity with supremely integrated hints of vanilla and that warming, autumnal feel which will make any aficionado of Spanish wines feel at home. The palate is where there is a slight, subtle gearchange; it is lip-smackingly fresh with fine acidity and tart raspberry fruit. There is a real line to this wine; it feels “straight-up” – quite different to the open generosity of 2005. The tannins are super-fine, yet the structure of the wine is clear, all supported by gentle, supremely integrated oak. To complete a near-perfect picture is the serious, yet wonderfully long finish – a finish that is subtly complex yet which goes on and on towards nuanced depths, with even a hint of marmite. It would be impossible not to enjoy this wine now, yet believe it or not, it still feels young. It will relax slightly, opening up even more over the next couple of years – and has wonderful potential for longevity. Enjoy at its peak from 2021 to ’35 onwards, but don’t be put off trying it now with a bit of air.
Catriona Felstead MW, Spain Buyer
Read more

wine at a glance

Delivery and quality guarantee

Buying options

Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Find out more.
You can place a bid for this wine on BBX
Case format
Availability
Price per case
6 x 75cl bottle
BBX marketplace BBX 1 case £135.00
New To BBX
New To BBX
BBX marketplace BBX 1 case £145.00
New To BBX
New To BBX
BBX marketplace BBX 2 cases £145.20
New To BBX
New To BBX
BBX marketplace BBX 4 cases £148.50
BBX marketplace BBX 2 cases £155.00
See more listings+
See more listings
6 x 150cl magnum
BBX marketplace BBX 1 case £315.00

About this WINE

Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia

Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia

Bodegas Lopez de Heredia is one of the wine world’s great wine treasures. Founded in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, the Bodega was built close to the railway station at Haro, in Rioja, its location geographically symbolic for proximity of access to the ideas of Bordeaux and practically useful for transportation of both grapes and wines.

Snr López (forgive me for abbreviating his name henceforth) established the legendary Tondonia vineyards on the alluvial slopes overlooking the River Ebro on the cusp of the Alta and Alavesa wine sub-regions. A visionary and a romantic, his aspirations were impressive and included architectural plans that almost put one in mind of the Sagrada Familia. Indeed, both buildings remain unfinished, but both are iconic, not least because of their Babelish scale...Châteaux en Espagne!

Their famous Observation Tower at Haro is a great landmark and, as its name implies and its intentions ordained, a good place to witness the progress of the vines over the seasons. It is known locally as the Txori-Toki,the Basque term for a bird house.

The Lopez de Heredia portfolio extends over 170 hectares and four autonomous vineyard areas, of which Tondonia is both the largest (70 hectares) and the most famous. The other three are Cubillo, Bosconia and Gravonia; each with distinctive terroir and aspect and differing styles of wine.

In terms of grape varieties, the reds are dominated by Tempranilo, but there are also old-vine plantings of Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo. The whites come from both Viura and Malvasia, with more of the former planted, some of which is extremely old.

One feature above all underwrites the house philosophy and that is, of course, the use of oak, be it the large vessels used for fermentation or the Bordeaux-size barrels for maturation, of which there are over 14,000 in the bodega’s labyrinthine cellars. New oak is shunned and the majority, but not all of the barrels, are sourced in America. An in-house Cooperage ensures that specifications are met and the ageing regime tends towards the longer end of the scale, albeit within the limits prescribed by the laws of the Denominacion.

Reserva and Gran Reserva red and white wines are indulged similarly, with frequent racking as necessary, egg-white fining and bottling without filtration. A further stylistic key is the extensive pre-release bottle aging. Cash flow is certainly not king at Tondonia; the quest for perfection is paramount and the wine, unlike that from in some areas one could mention, is released only when ready.

And the quality is such that the top wines maintain this plateau of perfection for years and years, often decades. A fascinating tasting of old white and red Riojas at The World of Fine Wine in 2011 confirmed this fact; the older star wines were mostly from Tondonia (with one or two from Riscal admittedly) and the vintages which stood out were 1945, 1964 and the relatively youthful 1970!

The Lopez de Heredia wines are not all old and venerable and it is great that the younger examples, whilst maintaining the House style and the elegant warmth that one has come to expect from fine Rioja, have an exuberant freshness and approachability which one may not have expected from this source. The entire vinous family, in other words, impresses; Lopez de Heredia provides the perfect antidote to global vinous homogeneity with a range that is challenging and diverse, cerebral and yet sensual. A fitting legacy for the entrepreneurial Snr Lopez and one which I am delighted to commend it to the Berry Bros. & Rudd house.


Find out more
Rioja

Rioja

Rioja is known primarily for its reds although it also makes white wines from the Viura and Malvasia grapes and rosés mainly from Garnacha. Most wineries (bodegas) have their own distinct red wine formula, but are normally a combination of Tempranillo, Garnacha and sometimes Graciano. Other red varieties recently approved into the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) regulations are the little-known Maturana Tinta, Maturana Parda, and Monastel (not to be confused with Monastrell). The most important of these by far is the king of native Spanish varieties, Tempranillo, which imbues the wines with complex and concentrated fruit flavours.

The Garnacha, meanwhile, bestows its wines with warm, ripe fruit and adds an alcohol punch. Graciano is an améliorateur grape (one that is added, often in small proportions, to add a little something to the final blend) and is found mainly in Reserva and Gran Reserva wines, albeit in small quantities (two to five percent), adding freshness and aroma, and enhancing the wines' ageing potential.

Crianza wines are aged for one year in oak followed by maturation for one year in bottle before being released for sale. Reservas must undergo a minimum of three years’ ageing before release, at least one of which should be in oak casks. Finally, Gran Reservas, which are only produced in the finest vintages, must spend at least five years maturing, of which at least two must be in oak.

Geographically, Rioja is divided in to three districts: Alavesa, Alta and Baja. Rioja Alavesa lies in the northwest of the La Rioja region in the Basque province of Álava. Along with Rioja Alta, it is the heartland of the Tempranillo grape. Rioja Alta, to the north-west and south of the Ebro River in the province of La Rioja, stretches as far as the city of Logroño. Elegance and poise is the hallmark of wines made here with Rioja Alta Tempranillo. Mazuelo (Carignan) is occasionally added to wines from this area to provide tannins and colour. Rioja Baja, located to the south-east, is the hottest of the three districts and specialises in Garnacha.

Rioja has witnessed a broad stylistic evolution over the years. The classic Riojas pioneered by Murrieta and Riscal in the 19thcentury were distinguished by long oak-barrel-ageing whereas the modern style, represented by Marqués de Cáceres since 1970, showcases the fruit and freshness of Tempranillo, keeping oak ageing to the legal minimum. The post-modern school that emerged in the late 1990s from producers like Palacios Remondo and Finca Allende concentrate on making wines from old vines or specific vineyard plots to accentuate the terroir, and using larger proportions of minority varietals such as Graciano.

The alta expression wines, pioneered by Finca Allende (among others) and later taken up by almost every other producer in Rioja, represent the newest flagship category in Rioja. Alongside the traditional Gran Reservas, alta expression wines are limited production and come from low-yielding vines, often from a single vineyard, and are hand-picked. Excellent examples of this style are Artadi's Pagos Viejos and El Pison.

However, modernisation has not held back the continuation of successful traditional styles as well. Happily long-established houses such La Rioja Alta, CVNE and Marques de Vargas continue to make graceful, old style wines better than ever before.

White Rioja is typically produced by the Viura grape which must comprise at least 51 percent of the blend; the rest can be made up by other, recently-authorised varieties, namely Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Verdejo, as well as the native Maturana Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, and Turruntés (not to be mistaken for Torrontés).

Recommended Producers:
Finca Allende, Amezola de la Mora, Artadi, CVNE, Marqués de Vargas, Palacios Remondo, La Rioja Alta, Murrieta.

Find out more
Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

Tempranillo/Tinto Fino

A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.

Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas  where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.

In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.

Find out more

Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate
The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion's share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014.
Luis Gutiérrez - Wine Advocate - Feb 2018
Read more