History and time may change us, but only in so much as to define where we have come from, where we are now, and where we are going. Having recently been married I’ve been reflecting on many of those things. Which leads me to Rioja, the gem of Spain, and a winery that holds a dear place in my heart, Bodegas Lopez Heredia.
Winemaking in Spain is a tradition that dates back far beyond the bodegas we know today. For most of that time, it went without the great acclaim and success of the vignerons of France. Then something changed. A vicious vine disease called Phylloxera struck France in the mid to late 1800’s decimating their crops, and forced French wine makers to reach outside of their holdings, taking clones, unaffected rootstock, techniques, and their passion to many other lands. With some ending up in, you guessed it, neighboring Spain.
While maintaining tradition, Lopez de Heredia respects the winds of change and never alters its identity. They offer an unparalleled product at a price that just doesn’t make sense to any accountant, wine professional, or consumer. It’s just that good.
“For us, tradition and conviction are life-long attitudes. Our winemaking process has been passed on from generation to generation, and our daily tasks are rooted in tradition, yet at the same time based on our deep belief in the validity and modernity of our methods. By “tradition”, we do not mean immobility and opposition to change; rather a dynamic and aesthetic concept in maintaining eternal principles and criteria. We are perfectly aware of the rhythm of change, and for this reason, our openness to change, our flexibility, our non-conformism and our self-criticism enable us to face the future. What we have inherited from our ancestors is what converts our idiosyncrasies into positive qualities and attitudes.
Our current and future promises can be summarized by two ideas that have always epitomized López de Heredia:
– Professionalism, as artisan winemakers, offering the consumer a distinctive product of supreme quality.
– Ethic, promoting the well being of all those who work within our bodega by contributing to the happiness of our friends and customers and giving to society the best of our hopes and dreams.” Bodegas Lopez Heredia
This philosophy is just as compelling as their wines and why I bring up the idea of Something Old (136 years in operation), Something New (adapting to the new world of wine, today), and Something Borrowed (French influence in the 19th century). This ideal has built one of the top 3 oldest Bodegas in Rioja.
What you get in the glass are wines made with laser precision. Bottle age at a fair price. And a joy that lasts for years. The great part is they always hold back the releases and the wine are well mature and ready to drink. You won’t find wines of this age and quality almost anywhere in the world at this price.
Whether seeking something old, new, or borrowed…these wines are for you and great introduction to the gates of the best Spanish wines.
~ Josh, Assistant Manager
Let’s get on with the wines:
Winemaker: Mercedes Lopez De Heredia (we love our female winemakers)
Grape varietal: Tempranillo
Region: Rioja Alta
Vina Tondonia (Something Old) 2007
“Following the appreciation of the 2007 vintage from María José López de Heredia, the red 2007 Viña Tondonia Reserva is showing great, revealing unusual finesse and elegance. The nose is a little reticent but nuanced and complex, a little shy rather than explosive. The palate is medium-bodied, and the tannins are very refined. This has to be one of the finest vintages of Viña Tondonia Reserva of recent years.” RP/ WA 96pts
Vina Bosconia (Something New) 2008
“Taking on a balsamic and high-toned wood character to the ripe fruit on the nose. Some dried cheese and ripe fruit, too. Medium-bodied with integrated tannins that are polished and fine. Goes on for minutes. A beautiful, traditional wine, as always.” JS 96pts
Vina Cubillo (Something Borrowed)2011
Clear, bright ruby. Fresh and slight aroma to licorice with consistent texture and persistent aroma. Smooth, fresh and persistent. Pinot Noir like and just pure lovely from the start. -winemakers notes