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 Vintage1996 Label 11 of 30 
(NOTE: Label borrowed from 1993 vintage.)
TypeWhite
ProducerR. López de Heredia (web)
VarietyWhite Blend
DesignationBlanco Reserva
VineyardViña Tondonia
CountrySpain
RegionLa Rioja
SubRegionLa Rioja Alta
AppellationRioja
UPC Code(s)721384040016

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2013 and 2022 (based on 14 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 91 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 87 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by isaacjamesbaker on 5/31/2015 & rated 93 points: MuscaDay 2015: Such a cool, crazy, insane wine. Salty, musky, earthy, full of tea and nuts. The candied orange peel and lemon curd fruit is blasted with nuts, dried honey, all sorts of herbs. An awesome wine, and even better when paired with a black and white pepper-crusted goat cheese. Such intriguing, challenging, but ultimately rewarding stuff. (791 views)
 Tasted by manonthemoon on 5/31/2015 & rated 91 points: Very solid. (589 views)
 Tasted by Conde on 5/7/2015 & rated 91 points: Vackert bärnstensfärgat. I näsan finns det nötter, vax, en ton av gräddkola och övermogen citron. I munnen är vinet mer än medelfylligt, mycker runt och mjukt, men ändå mycket torrt och distinkt. Här finns lite gul mogen frukt, och en bra, integrerad syra som gör vinet fräscht trots smakrikedomen och texturen.

Till ugnsstekt lax med västerbottens- och dillpesto. (737 views)
 Tasted by drrobvino on 4/26/2015 & rated 95 points: This wine defies logic. Initially had a maderized nose, this blew off and was replaced by caramel, chalk, macadamia nuts, and literally no fruit I could ascertain. The structure of this wine was so amazing, with crazy complexity and an acid spine that is unbelievable. This wine will age forever. A memorable experience. Need to try this with foie gras encrusted with macadamia nuts. (832 views)
 Tasted by Ben Christiansen on 4/23/2015: Open for three days yet seemingly all the better for it. Wax, honey, walnut, wood, of all its own thing. But not heavy, and just kinda glides through its existance. A lovely wine indeed. (941 views)
 Tasted by rossi.wine on 4/8/2015 & rated 93 points: Wonderful colour, dark yellow/golden. Quite shy on the nose at first, but opening up impressively in the glass showing notes of nuts, white flowers, red apples, musk, tropical fruit. Bright acidity, lime fruit, slightly waxy again, but fresh on the palate. Really long. Excellent. 92-94 (918 views)
 Tasted by Hajoha on 9/7/2014 & rated 89 points: Lett oksidert nese med litt portvin/sherry karakter. Noe nøtter og aprikos her også.
Fyldig, konsentrert med god lengde. Veldig rart og kult!
En skikkelig matvin, og var nydelig til Serrano. (1902 views)
 Tasted by SimonG on 8/29/2014 & rated 92 points: Spanish WIMPS 'Casa de Pilatos' (La Trompette, London): A touch of almond. Lovely. Poise and line here as well as roundness and some weight. A touch of wax and lanolin too. Maturing nicely. Seamless. **** (1900 views)
 Tasted by galewskj on 8/10/2014 & rated 90 points: Bone dry, full of complexity. A great food wine. Slight caramel flavors, lemon, acid, honey taste but not sweet, slight oxidized quality. (784 views)
 Tasted by rocknroller on 8/9/2014 & rated 92 points: Annual Wine Group Summer Event (Siggy & Jenny's Place, Mpls, MN): Every bit as good as the previous bottle and very consistent notes. Thoroughly enjoyable. 92+pts. (2065 views)
 Tasted by Cutter on 8/5/2014 & rated 90 points: An acquired taste. If you like Fino Sherry, you will like this. I don't like Fino Sherry due to the lack of acidity, but this wine fixed that issue. Gold color of medium intensity. Medium nose with loads of salt water, hazelnuts, almonds and lemon curd. Similar profile on the palate with medium I tensity and a lingering finish. Hint: don't drink this too cold as that will mask the wine's complexity. Goes well with chocolate ice cream! (631 views)
 Tasted by asheio on 6/8/2014 & rated 90 points: Very fascinating, as always. Nutty/oxidized aromas, fullbodied and complex. High acidity. (2062 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 5/24/2014 & rated 91 points: Terrific food wine at Portland's Ataula authentic and wonderful Barcelona style Tapas restaurant. (1999 views)
 Tasted by Ben Christiansen on 5/15/2014: Golly gee is the palate right in the pocket. (1435 views)
 Tasted by Ben Christiansen on 4/19/2014: In an absolute sweet spot. The middle of the palate takes it away - seamless, savory, succulent (lots of "s"s there), creamy character that was utterly delicious. Thoughts were it wouldn't go much farther and while I don't have a ton of experience with these wines I disagree - I think it is right in the pocket and has years ahead. But its definitely on fire now. (1375 views)
 Tasted by pmk on 4/17/2014 & rated 92 points: consistent with earlier notes - bone dry with a unique taste quality - paired with flounder en papillote Drink now (1231 views)
 Tasted by portman63 on 4/15/2014 & rated 92 points: This is what neutral barrel-aged white should taste like. Definitely showing some nuttiness and a crystalline honey, but in the beautiful madeira way, no intrusive oak/vanilla. Great acidity and salinity especially on the long round finish. One would have to like this style and have with paella optimally. (1016 views)
 Tasted by Anonymous on 2/17/2014 & rated 93 points: Un vin génial, style vieillot, surprenant pour son caractère légèrement oxydé mais qui affiche tout de même une pureté aromatique sur les fruits étonnante. Belle tension et longueur, équilibre parfait entre la richesse du fruit et l'acidité. Belle découverte. (1552 views)
 Tasted by pmk on 2/5/2014 & rated 93 points: A unique wine that will be appreciated only by some, but those that do will find it extraordinary. This is a bone dry wine with an exquisite nose of floral scents, vanilla and honey. On the palate it is very dry to start with substantial acidity, followed by layers of unusual flavors of shadowy fruit, vanilla, and more. the cent of the tongue is coated with fruit while tha acidity reaches the sides. The finish is very very long with complexities that end with just a hint of fruit. A unique wine.
Do not over chill. Tastes better on the warmer side. (1498 views)
 Tasted by MWiking on 1/25/2014 & rated 92 points: white rioja is a new experience for me and I like it. really dry style with almonds, peache and caramel on the palete. The nose is a bit sweet. (1610 views)
 Tasted by Gannet2013 on 1/23/2014 flawed bottle: Flawed bottle (1474 views)
 Tasted by Harley1199 on 1/8/2014: That's it! Fantastic drink at La Piperna in Madrid.
What a Tondonia, red or white, must be...a generous bottle, superb performance and good balance.
Old gold colour. Still young anyay.
Nose is full of wax and caramel aromas. Delicious.
Dense, balsamic on the palate. A fresh acidity helps to get on fit your food.

¡Eso es! Una botella fantástica para el restaurante La Piperna.
Lo que un Tondonía debe ser...una botella generosa, de una actuación perfecta y de un exquisito equilibrio.
Color a oro viejo. Todavía joven de todos modos.
La nariz está llena de aromas a cera y caramelo. Deliciosa.
En boca densa, balsámica. Una fresca acidez ayuda a qu tu comida esté en forma. (2160 views)
 Tasted by mattyboy_ on 12/11/2013 & rated 93 points: fresh and dried floral perfume, chamomile, vegetable stock, poached apple, poached pear. On the palate - so beautifully balanced with oxidative style but manages to retain so much freshness - mix of poached pear and apple, fresh cut pears [bosc] and red delicious apple. Finishes long and clean. (1122 views)
 Tasted by Tony Molester on 11/26/2013: One bottle drank like a dream, with all the delicious savoury components we expect. The other bottle was flat and slightly oxidised. Purchased in Madrid at the same store; bottle variation.

Drink or hold.
12.5%abv (1670 views)
 Tasted by fanglangzhe on 11/23/2013 & rated 90 points: Smell: dried apples, wax, vanilla, oak, cheese. taste: dried apple, white raisins, citrus. very fresh, only very slight oxidation note. Not the most complex vintage of this wine. (1314 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Josh Raynolds
Vinous, September/October 2012, IWC Issue #164
(R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco Rioja) Subscribe to see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (1/28/2013)
(R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia) Medium golden yellow color with 1.5 millimeter clear meniscus; saffron, light cumin, tart lemon, light lemon oil, ripe pear nose; oily textured, lemon oil, tart lemon, mineral, tart pear palate with medium acidity; medium-plus finish 92+ points (90% Viura, 10% Malvasia)  92 points
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (6/28/2012)
(R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia) Medium gold color; beeswax, coriander, savory, baked lemon, saffron nose; tasty, saffron, beeswax, coriander palate; long finish 94+ points  94 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and RJonWine.com. (manage subscription channels)

CellarTracker Wiki Articles (login to edit | view all articles)

R. López de Heredia

Producer Website

White Blend

Blend of two or more white grape varietals. One of the oldest labels in the highly competitive market for Italian grappas. Made from 85% free-run grape juice as well as distilled pips and stems, rather than the pips and stems alone

Viña Tondonia

Jay Miller in WA, June 2010
A visit to the venerable Bodega Lopez de Heredia, located in the Rioja Alta capital of Haro, is akin to entering a time machine taking you back 100 years. Construction of the Bodega began in 1877 and continues without any apparent changes to the present day. The winery is operated by the voluble Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia, her sister Mercedes, and their father Pedro, still active into his 80s. All of the wines are produced from estate grown bush vines. Tondonia and Bosconia are two different vineyards; Bosconia has a larger percentage of Tempranillo and a different orientation. For an excellent overview of the estate, read Eric Asimov’s blog in the New York Times dated August 11, 2009.

Spain

Vinos de España - Wines of Spain (Instituto Español de Comercio Exterior) | Wikipedia

Spain is the third largest wine producing nation in the world, occupying the majority of the Iberian Peninsula with vast diversity in climate, culture, and of course, wine. From inky, dark reds of the [Priorat] to dry, white Finos from Andalusia, Spain can easily boast of elaborating a wide variety of notable styles. Within Spain there are currently 62 demarcated wine regions, of which a handful have gained international recognition: [Rioja], Priorat and [Ribera del Duero]. Yet these regions are only a small sample of the high quality wines Spain produces. Regions such as Cava, Penedes, Somontano, Galicia, Rueda and Jerez are only a few of the numerous regions worthy of exploration throughout Spain. Spain can also lay claim to having the most land under vine in the world, growing up to, by some accounts, 600 indigenous varietals of which Tempranillo is their most well known. Other popular varietals include [Garnacha], Bobal and Monastrell for reds and for whites; the infamous Palomino Fino grape which is used in the production of sherry wine, Pedro Ximenez in Montilla Morilles, Albarino used in the creation of the bright, effervescent wines of Galicia, and Verdejo in Rueda. - Source: - Catavino.net

Spain is not in the forefront of winemaking for its dessert wines, other than for its sweet wines from Sherry country including the highly revered Olorosos and Amontillados. But apart from Sherry Spain has a range of styles of dessert wines, ranging from the those made from the Pedro Ximenez grape primarily in Jerez and Montilla-Moriles) to luscious, red dessert wines made in the Mediterranean from the Garnacha (Grenache) grape. Some good Moscatels are made in Mallorca, Alicante and Navarre. The northwest corner of Spain, Galicia, with its bitter Atlantic climate, is even making dessert wines, called “Tostadillos” in the village of Ribadivia (similar to France’s “Vin de Paille”). The Canary Islands have made interesting dessert wines for centuries (they are mentioned by Shakespeare, for example) and in recent years the quality of winemaking has been improved and the Canary Islands wines are being better marketed now. The winemaking styles for “Vinos Dulces” are also diverse, from “Late Harvest” (Vendimia Tardía) to “Fortified Wines” (Fermentación Parcial). Based on in-spain.info.

La Rioja

Consejo Regulador DOC Rioja - Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja

Rioja

Consejo Regulador DOC Rioja - Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja

HISTORY
The wine region of La Rioja in Spain was first demarcated by the area's governing body, the Consejo Regulador, in 1926. The region extends for approximately 120 kilometres along both sides of the Ebro River and is, at its widest point, bounded by mountains on either side. In fact, the word 'Rioja' is a derivation of the two words 'Rio' (River) and 'Oja (the name of a tributary of the Ebro that runs right through La Rioja creating a series of microclimates and providing much needed water for the vines).

La Rioja has always been a vital part of Spain's history. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors, and finally, medieval Crusaders have all played a part in the area's history. The Romans, however, made wine a part of their culture wherever they travelled, and La Rioja was no exception. Ancient sites of Roman wineries still exist in and around the area today.
After the Romans came the Moors, and winemaking all but ceased. It wasn't until after the famous 'El Cid' liberated Spain, and medieval Christianity brought trade via the Crusaders through the region, that it flourished again. The Benedictine monks of Cluny in Burgundy, known for their viticulture, helped to establish three monasteries in the area. The vines they planted were mostly white grapes. In the fourteenth century, English traders acquired a taste for a local Rioja wine, which was a blend of white and red wines called Blancos Pardillos. Over time, development of lighter reds came about satisfying eighteenth century English and French courts.

The real improvements to Rioja's viticulture began around 1780 when the need to prolong wine during transport brought about experimentation with different woods and preservatives. Studies were made of the techniques used by great chateaux in Bordeaux. With the outbreak of the Peninsular War, progress was halted until 1852, when the Bordelais came south to Rioja seeking vines because their vineyards had been blighted with oidium. French winemaking methods were eagerly taken up by great rivals the Marques de Murrieta and Marques de Riscal (who both claim to have been the first in Rioja to make wine in the Bordeaux fashion).

When phylloxera devastated Bordeaux in the 1870s and the French influence really took hold in Rioja, many of the region's finest bodegas started production on what we now consider as the great wines of Rioja. It’s important to remember that Bordeaux winemaking methods then were very different to those employed today in France, and involved long ageing in barrel, a factor that the Riojans took up enthusiastically. So enthusiastically in fact that to this day there are a number of Bodegas that still make their wine in a surprisingly similar fashion to that of the Bordelais in the later part of the 1800s and this also explains why oak ageing is such an important part of Riojan winemaking.

USE OF OAK
Pronounced vanilla flavours in the wines are a trademark of the region though some modern winemakers are experimenting with making wines less influenced by oak. Originally French oak was used but as the cost of the barrels increased many bodegas began to buy American oak planks and fashion them into barrels at Spanish cooperages in a style more closely resembling the French method. This included hand splitting the wood, rather than sawing, and allowing the planks time to dry and 'season' in the outdoors versus drying in the kiln. In recent times, more bodegas have begun using French oak and many will age wines in both American and French oak for blending purposes.

In the past, it was not uncommon for some bodegas to age their red wines for 15-20 years or even more before their release. One notable example of this is Marqués de Murrieta which released its 1942 vintage Gran Reserva in 1983 after 41 years of ageing. Today most bodegas have shifted their winemaking focus to wines that are ready to drink sooner with the top wines typically ageing for 4-8 years prior to release though some traditionalists still age longer. The typical bodega owns anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 oak barrels.
The use of oak in white wine has declined significantly in recent times when before the norm was traditionally 2-5 years in oak. This created slightly oxidised wines with flavours of caramel, coffee, and roasted nuts that did not appeal to a large market of consumers. Today the focus of white winemakers has been to enhance the vibrancy and fruit flavours of the wine.

WINE CLASSIFICATION
Most Riojan Bodegas believe that the ageing of a wine should be the responsibility of the producer rather than that of the consumer, and this is why much Rioja is more mature than wines from other countries. Rioja red wines are classified into four categories. The first, simply labelled 'Rioja', or 'Sin Crianza' (meaning 'without ageing') is the youngest, spending less than a year in oak. A "Crianza" is wine aged for at least two years, at least one of which is in oak. 'Reserva' is aged for at least three years, of which at least one year is in oak. Finally, 'Gran Reserva' wines have been aged at least two years in oak and three years in bottle. Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are not necessarily produced each year. Also produced are wines in a semi-crianza style, those that have had a couple of months of oak influence but not enough to be called a full crianza. The designation of Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva might not always appear on the front label but may appear on a neck or back label in the form of a stamp designation known as Consejo.

SUB REGIONS
Rioja Alta
Located on the western edge of the region, and at higher elevations than the other areas, the Rioja Alta is known for more fruity and concentrated wines which can have very smooth texture and mouth feel.

Rioja Alavesa
Despite sharing a similar climate as the Alta region, the Rioja Alavesa produces wines with a fuller body and higher acidity. Vineyards in the area have a low vine density with large spacing between rows. This is due to the relatively poor conditions of the soil with the vines needing more distance from each other and less competition for the nutrients in the surrounding soil.

Rioja Baja
Unlike the more continental climate of the Alta and Alavesa, the Rioja Baja is strongly influenced by a Mediterranean climate which makes this area the warmest and driest of the Rioja. In the summer months, drought can be a significant viticultural hazard, though since the late 1990s irrigation has been permitted. Temperatures in the summer typically reach 95°F. Twenty percent of the vineyards actually fall within the Navarra appellation but the wine produced from the grapes is still allowed to claim the Rioja designation. The predominant grape here is the Garnacha which prefers the hot conditions, unlike the more aromatic Tempranillo. Consequently Baja wines are very deeply coloured and can be highly alcoholic with some wines at 18% alcohol by volume. The wines typically do not have much acidity or aroma and are generally used as blending components with wines from other parts of
the Rioja.

The Riojans are master blenders (as they have to be because there are relatively few single estates in the area, the norm being to blend from a wide variety of vineyards and wine areas). Consequently they are able to reduce vintage variation by careful blending and many of the best wines vary relatively little between vintages.

VITICULTURE & GRAPES
Rioja wines are normally a blend of various grape varieties, and can be either red (tinto), white (blanco) or rosé (rosado). Rioja has a total of 57,000 hectares cultivated, yielding 250 million litres of wine annually, of which 85% is red. The harvest time for most Rioja vineyards is September-October with the northern Rioja Alta having the latest harvest in late October. The soil here is clay-based with a high concentration of chalk and iron (which provides the redness in the soil that may be responsible for the region's name, Rioja, meaning red). There is also significant concentration of limestone, sandstone and alluvial silt.

Among the Tintos, the best-known and most widely-used variety is Tempranillo. Other grapes used include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. A typical blend will consist of approximately 60% Tempranillo and up to 20% Garnacha, with much smaller proportions of Mazuelo and Graciano. Each grape adds a unique component to the wine with Tempranillo contributing the main flavours and ageing potential to the wine; Garnacha adding body and alcohol; Mazuelo adding seasoning flavours and Graciano adding additional aromas.
With Rioja Blanco, Viura is the prominent grape (also known as Macabeo) and is sometimes blended with some Malvesia and Garnacha Blanca. In the white wines the Viura contributes mild fruitness, acidity and some aroma to the blend with Garnacha Blanca adding body and Malvasia adding aroma. Rosados are mostly derived from Garnacha grapes. The 'international varieties' of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have gained some attention and use through experimental plantings by some bodegas but their use has created wines distinctly different from the typical Rioja.

Some of the most sought after grapes come from the limestone/sandstone based 'old vine' vineyards in the Alavesa and Alta regions. These 40 year old plus vines are prized due to their low yields and more concentrated flavours. A unique DO regulation stipulates that the cost of the grapes used to make Rioja must exceed by at least 200% the national average of wine grapes used in all Spanish wines.

VINTAGE CHART
Rioja (Red) Year %

2004 Superb vintage, classic wines Drink or Hold 94
2003 Hot, dry year, long-ageing wines Drink or Hold 91
2002 Smallest vintage in 10 years. Variable quality.
Keep to top names Drink or Hold 87
2001 Excellent year for long ageing Reservas
and Gran Reservas Drink or Hold 94
2000 A generally good vintage with fine Reservas Drink or Hold 89
1999 Smaller vintage of good quality Drink or Hold 88
1998 Good vintage Drink or Hold 97
1997 Unexciting so far, but quaffable Drink or Hold 84
1996 Good year, plenty of ageing potential Drink or Hold 89
1995 Very good vintage, Reservas now showing excellent fruit Drink or Hold 92
1994 Outstanding, some great long-ageing wines Drink or Hold 94
1993 Lesser wines, apart from best-known names Drink 77
1992 Rather light vintage Drink 80
1991 Still improving, average quality Drink or Hold 85
1990 Fairly ordinary but quaffable Drink 84
1989 Good, firm structure Drink 88



Rioja Reserva & Gran Reserva – Vintages of the Eighties Year %

1989 Goodish vintage, well balanced Drink 88
1988 Fairly good vintage, well balanced wines Drink 88
1987 Very attractive vintage, now at peak Drink 90
1986 Average year, now drinking well Drink 87
1985 Average year, now drinking well Drink 87
1984 Disappointing, with problem weather Avoid 80
1983 Don't keep it any longer Drink 86
1982 Now past its best Drink 83
1981 Superb wines, finest will keep longer Drink 90
1980 Average vintage, don't keep any longer Drink 86

 
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