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 Vintage1990 Label 2 of 28 
ProducerR. López de Heredia (web)
VarietyWhite Blend
DesignationBlanco Reserva
VineyardViña Tondonia
RegionLa Rioja
SubRegionLa Rioja Alta

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2011 and 2017 (based on 2 user opinions)
Wine Market Journal quarterly auction price: See Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Blanco Reserva on the Wine Market Journal.

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 91.3 pts. and median of 92 pts. in 56 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by sharonandroland on 9/23/2014 & rated 92 points: Got better and fresher over the evening. (1091 views)
 Tasted by subtlet on 2/24/2014 & rated 91 points: 1990 Bordeaux Dinner (Noisette, Portland, OR): The nose is heavy, showing scents of wax, quince, and applesauce, all spiced with some smoke. This wine delivers tons of complexity on the palate. Grapefruit and dragonfruit work together to provide electric flavor and structure. I don't taste red fruits, but the acidity reminds me of cranberries. Good length on the finish, and the flavors make this wine intellectually engaging. 91+ (2061 views)
 Tasted by Riccardo Malocchio on 12/13/2013 & rated 93 points: A wonderful bottle, very fresh, vibrant, intense, and just begging to be guzzled. It followed an old Clos de la Barre and a young Dujac Gevrey-Chambertin and back-heeled them both in terms of complexity, distinctiveness, and pure joyous drinkability. One could tick off a litany of descriptors - honeysuckle, orange peel, potpourri, marzipan, toasted coconut, a deep chalky salinity - but attempting to describe this wine by its integral components cannot begin to express its harmonious whole, its ageless and ineffable perfection. A singular experience. (2159 views)
 Tasted by cweiner on 11/5/2013 & rated 87 points: Not sure what I was expecting.
Well integrated but limited body. (2248 views)
 Tasted by defigio on 6/30/2013 & rated 92 points: Clear and bright, dark gold, M+ visc. Bruised apple, beeswax, orchid, wet basement, notably oxidized. M acid, touch of grip on the palate, M alc/body. Excellent complexity and length. Probably best at 50°F. 90% Viura, 10% Malvasia. Pair with milder cheeses, saffron-based seafood. (2721 views)
 Tasted by bkizzle on 1/13/2013 & rated 88 points: Dark yellow. Nose is sweet fig and roasted nuts. Palate has some oxidation but really nice, interesting tertiary flavors. Better when it's not too cold (2629 views)
 Tasted by hsacks on 8/10/2012 & rated 92 points: Deep yellow color with a touch of browning. Complex aromas of hazelnuts, saline, fruit pits, pineapple and wood spice. Ripe but beautifully structured fruit in the mouth with excellent depth and a long, complex finish. Although mildly oxidized, this wine had a solid core of refreshing acidity and was very fresh on long on the palate. A unique and delicious wine that is a great match with salty or smokey food. (2797 views)
 Tasted by DaleW on 7/17/2012: Deep golden color, rich fig and peach fruit, saline/mineral finish. Some hazelnut notes, big but fresh. A- (2773 views)
 Tasted by diggydan on 7/14/2012 & rated 95 points: Deep golden hue belies this wines spunk, the freshness of the nose! A whiff of lanolin, a well-worn baseball glove, the wood of a cracked bat. The attack is smooth, easing into the mid-palate that bites with acid and rises to a high, saline peak - the ancient sea's floor now roofing the world. Extraordinary length from one sip, and then the next brings more flavors: preserved lemons. These old Lopez blancos are singular wines. (2542 views)
 Tasted by AndrewSGHall on 5/26/2012: Lovely complexity of pollen, fougere and sea spray. Crisp and well-delineated on the palate. Bright, a really nice lift on the finish. Well-balanced and taut. Greatly enjoyed. (2219 views)
 Tasted by wineismylife on 5/18/2012 & rated 94 points: CT Texas IV - Friday Night Dinner (Hudson on the Bend, Austin, TX): WIML94

Tasted non blind. Opened and served immediately.

Yellow color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of ocean breeze, petrol, wet stones and a hint of talc. Flavors of yellow pears, a hint of apricot core and minerals. Medium acidity, medium body. Drink or hold. No rush. (1907 views)
 Tasted by floydtp on 5/18/2012 & rated 93 points: CT Texas IV (Austin, TX): Tasted non blind at a wine dinner. Nose and palate of peaches, apricots, caramel, gravel, spice, nuts, white flowers and a hint of butter. Long consistent finish with nice acidity. Drink now but save a few to see how it continues to evolve. An easy WOTN contender in a lineup of 20+ wines. (1698 views)
 Tasted by GalvezGuy on 5/18/2012 & rated 93 points: CT Texas IV - A Hill Country Treat; 5/18/2012-5/19/2012 (Austin, Texas): Another white in wine geek paradise. Very nutty on the nose, yet not oxidized, aromas of mineral, sea air, and apricot. On the palate, very nutty again with flavors of pear, apricot, and a honeyed aspect that was very alluring. Reminds me a lot of a Musar blanc I had recently, which tells me that I need to let my Musar blanc sleep a long time. (2274 views)
 Tasted by manonthemoon on 5/7/2012 & rated 91 points: Heredia Tasting; 5/7/2012-5/8/2012 (Palena, Washington, DC): This was served as the with the second group of wines.
N white flowers, grapefruit, minerals.
P Hint of Honey, lemon, white flowers, brine, minerals.
Good finish, my favorite of the flight. (1794 views)
 Tasted by floydtp on 5/28/2011 & rated 93 points: PnP but was a few to several degrees warmer than optimal. Big nose of apples and honey. On the palate, it revealed caramel, nuts, maybe a hint of peach and a touch of butter. Super long finish with the nuts carrying through to the end. At 20+ years since harvest, this one was a fresh as the day it was bottled and seemed to have lots of life ahead of it. (2940 views)
 Tasted by wineismylife on 5/28/2011 & rated 92 points: DAWGS May 2011 - Spanish Wines!: WIML92+

Tasted non blind at a wine dinner.

Yellow color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of camphor, a hint of ash, florals, spice, yellow pears and wet stones. Flavors of yellow pears, waxy apples and minerals. Medium acidity, medium body. Drink or hold. (3311 views)
 Tasted by darvid on 3/24/2011: Vaguely urinous yellow. Violet, honeysuckle and rose petal aromas carry through in the mouth. Lacy acid and ineffable mineral quality. Youthful. Refreshing and satisfying at once - you'd assume this should be sipped on a summer patio, but I'm enjoying it in rainy weather. Certainly more delicate than its nearest analogue, Rhone blanc. (3334 views)
 Tasted by garambler on 3/24/2011 & rated 93 points: I drank this with a shrimp and mushroom stir-fry on 3/24/11. It had a complex, fabulously intriguing and difficult to describe bouquet with truffle, floral, roasted nut, chamomile, pear, butter, vanilla, honey, spice and mineral aromas. The palate was equally complex, very creamy, dry and exceptional with flavors that followed the nose. (3222 views)
 Tasted by garagar on 1/18/2011 & rated 90 points: A surprising white wine in all aspects. On the nose reminds me on "Oloroso" wines from Jerez with vegetal and mineral aromas and hints of red licorice. Very fresh on the palate (considering a 1990 vintage), great acidity, vegetal flavours and some pear in the end. It also shows some creaminess and a good finish.

A very complex wine, almost a jewel from one of the most traditional and important wine companies from Rioja. And the price is unbelievable (just think about how it could cost a wine like this from Burgundy). (3370 views)
 Tasted by Fur in the glass on 1/8/2011: fruit and spice on the nose and a great rich mouthfeel. Have heard this is one of the white wine world's unique experiences and it was. A 20 year old white burgundy would be a great comparison if only they were as affordable as this was. (3410 views)
 Tasted by bags on 1/8/2011: what others have said better than I could. An exceptional wine; rather, more an experience. It is indeed meditative in that one begins to meditate of a type of perfect expression. Just beautiful both with and without food. Pineapple on the bouquet that is so stunningly developed, so rich and generous and fresh that one almost doesn't want to drink it (almost). Three more bottles and I will take my time: this will last a long time.
Day 2: continued to drink well and goes terrifically with Tostitos Hint of Lime (3667 views)
 Tasted by Sunnybrook Jim on 12/18/2010 & rated 91 points: To think this is a 20 year old white. We tasted this back in 2004 at the winery in Haro. Just had a bottle with diner at a local Berkeley restaurant and it was still magnificent. Pineapple on the front nose and a long finish. (3378 views)
 Tasted by CarTer on 11/9/2010 & rated 93 points: Tomamos nós, Mauro e Maria no restaurante Basco da José Maria Lisboa. Excepcional. (3802 views)
 Tasted by rherman on 8/29/2010 & rated 90 points: Second time and loved it. This wine is on the delicate side and shouldn't be served too chilled. I made the mistake of popping and pouring out of the fridge....my last sip....about an hour and a half later was my best. (4219 views)
 Tasted by David J Cooper on 8/5/2010: Bright gold/amber. Pineapple, spice, insence, woodworkshop, apple and some other stuff. Very nice fresh fruit flavours and a long haunting finish.

There are a lot of people that wouldn't touch a wine like this thinking it's oxed or tired and that's good because this wine is the opposite of that. (4108 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Josh Raynolds
Vinous, July/August 2009, IWC Issue #145
(R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco Rioja) Subscribe to see review text.
By John Gilman
View From the Cellar, Jan/Feb 2009, Issue #19, López de Heredia: Rioja’s Great Bastion of Tradition
(Viña Tondonia Rioja Blanco Reserva- López de Heredia) Login and sign up and see review text.
By Richard Jennings
RJonWine.com (3/15/2010)
(R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia) Medium orange color; oily, poached orange, mineral nose; very tasty, oily textured, poached pear, almond, mineral palate; long finish  95 points
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous and View From the Cellar 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.


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


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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