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|Drinking Windows and Values|
|Drinking window: Drink between 2010 and 2018 (based on 12 user opinions)|
|Community Tasting History|
Community Tasting Notes (average 169 notes) - and median of 90 pts. in hiding notes with no text
| ||Tasted by wineismylife on 4/8/2015 & rated 92 points: WIML92|
Tasted non blind.
Salmon color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of petrol, anise and cranberries. Flavors of strawberries, cranberries and red berries. Medium acidity, full bodied. Drink or hold. (783 views)
| ||Tasted by wineismylife on 11/1/2014: WIMLNR|
Tasted non blind.
Light salmon to orange color in the glass. Nose of wet stones dominates with light notes of red berries. Light flavors of strawberries, red raspberries and red berries. Tangy acidity, light to medium body. Drink or hold normally I would say but this wine the cork was wet almost to the top and it seemed as though maybe it suffered from a little bit of premature oxidation so I can't say officially drink now or over the next 3-4 years like I'd normally say or even rate it in case it was hit by some pre-mox. Barely noticeable to the point I still had it with dinner! Noted solely for future tastings. (1623 views)
| ||Tasted by chbeaumont on 6/29/2014 & rated 92 points: Copper coloured; intriguing , complex nose; distinctive, loads of interesting flavours, refreshing acidity. Very different, very good. Extended length. (2081 views)|
| ||Tasted by stubbie999 on 4/21/2014: Wow, as usual. A little heavy on the sherry end of the spectrum on opening, but younged up after an hour. Herbal and savory and tart red fruits, the first bottle empty in a slew of worthy contenders. Did I say wow? (2478 views)|
| ||Tasted by KVM on 4/3/2014 & rated 89 points: Rose/copper colour. Slight oxidation in the nose, including apple juice, nuts. Dry and very much a red wine, complete with tannin. This wine could be served before or throughout the meal.|
I recommend reviewing this producer's fascinating website (2488 views)
| ||Tasted by guchl on 3/26/2014 & rated 93 points: Strawberry, almonds, dried fruit, candied orange peel. Everything nicely balanced, quite long finish. not huge and showy or go-sit-by-myself-in-the-corner-complex, but I am having a hard time coming up with anything that I would want from it that it isn't already delivering. High quality stuff, great with food. (2220 views)|
| ||Tasted by ckinv368 on 11/30/2013 & rated 92 points: Notes of strawberry, young peach, pear, white pepper, some orange cream soda, and fresh bright red cherries. Very fresh. Mint notes. Really very nice effort. (2171 views)|
| ||Tasted by ckinv368 on 11/29/2013 & rated 92 points: Notes of macerated cherries, banana, acidity, and hints of forest floor, oxidation, decay and mold. Sweetly bitter oxidized strawberries and cherries on the palate. Hints of lychee, anise, under-ripe peach, and gunpowder smoke. White pepper and petrol as well. Very dry, and very much in keeping with the R. Lopez de Heredia style. Very well balanced, with a great mixture of acidity and fruit. Really enjoyable wine. Drink now, or hold for several more years. (1552 views)|
| ||Tasted by JoeTom on 11/28/2013 & rated 90 points: light peach hue with a copper rim. nose of sherry(oxidation), butterscotch, and hazelnuts. medium light weight with vibrant acidity. quite dry with a lasting finish of dried red fruits, watermelon rind and caramel. (1181 views)|
| ||Tasted by Libiamo! on 11/25/2013 & rated 90 points: Colour has darkened a bit since last time I tasted it two years ago, picking up hue of tawny. As expected, full of secondary and tertiary characteristics on the nose: oak, cedar, tomato water, baking spice. On the palate, mineral notes that are typical of Tondonia, mushroom, nutty notes, slightly oily texture. Nice acidity and length. But I'm afraid it's starting to go downhill from now on. Drink it up. (1242 views)|
| ||Tasted by Anonymous on 11/17/2013 & rated 89 points: A reminder of the ageing ability of really well made rose (though I think Ch Simone does it better). Beautiful Grenache nose (the wine is 60% Garnacha) good acidity, no rush to drink. Delicious. (1185 views)|
| ||Tasted by aslan-m on 10/15/2013 & rated 93 points: This is the best rose I have tasted: neither sweet nor dry but exactly as rose should be. Given the price it is even more remarkable. My only regret is that this is the last Vina Tondonia rosado available until the 2017 vintage. (1097 views)|
| ||Tasted by christyler on 9/25/2013 & rated 90 points: Just a little bit of oxidization gives it a nice edge. Very much a food wine. Great stuffing and should last must longer. A must-try, benchmark rose. (1282 views)|
| ||Tasted by DaleW on 9/10/2013: I liked more than neighbors. Pretty classic LdH rose. Citrus peel, onion skin, nuts, strawberries. B+ (1477 views)|
| ||Tasted by Periko on 8/31/2013 & rated 90 points: This wine is certainly different, a rara avis as mentioned before and either you love it or hate it. It shows the usual pale pink color with the oxidative-reductive nose with strawberries aromas and nuts. But what really defines this wine is the palate: fresh but mature, some sips reminds a white with the high acidity and the fennel flavor, some sips take you to an old aged red with a very predominant metallic taste along with red fruit and an always present oxidative flavor. |
Difficult to drink alone, this is a wine food that pairs well with a wide range of food, specially if spicy. 90+ (1304 views)
| ||Tasted by RichardP on 8/30/2013 & rated 92 points: Honeysuckle and strawberry on the nose. On the palate, a distinct nutty sherried flavor, along with tart strawberry and citrus overtones. At first taste, this was a bit sharp and unpleasant, but when I tried it with some Spanish-style semi-soft goat cheese it came into its own: The sweet, nutty flavor of the cheese paired beautifully with the wine. I wouldn't drink this on its own, but it makes an excellent match with salted nuts or saltier cheeses. Edit: I see that everyone agrees this is a food wine. I tried some with pasta and pesto, and it worked well with that too. The versatility is impressive. (1266 views)|
| ||Tasted by Anonymous on 8/11/2013 & rated 90 points: Amazing and unique Rose.... better yet with food! (1300 views)|
| ||Tasted by bags on 8/3/2013: every bottle bittersweet: sweet because it's delicious, bitter because it's one less bottle.... (1273 views)|
| ||Tasted by Charlie Pendejo on 6/27/2013: Wow, the LdH rosé is more idiosyncratic than their whites. This bottle was strongly oxidative: dominant scents and flavors for me were orange and grapefruit peel & pith macerated in fino sherry, some raspberry, and maybe a bit of green olive. I didn't think it changed character all that much across three days and a broad range of temperatures. It's very much not a gulpable rosé; my wife didn't like it at all (without food). Brilliant with food, especially spicy Sichuan - I don't think any other wine could have been better with "diced fish with pickled chili and cucumbers (and of course copious ginger and garlic, but that goes without saying)" - but also red sauced pasta. (1342 views)|
| ||Tasted by dalondra on 6/26/2013 & rated 90 points: Not your average Rosé. Darker, which gives a hint of its complexity on the palate. Berry fruits, orange and a late dryness. Went well with a Tuna and Goat's Cheese pâté on bruschette. I must buy some more. (1318 views)|
| ||Tasted by Fur in the glass on 6/7/2013 flawed bottle: Vinegar. Too bad. Had this two years ago and it was a really nice experience. (1353 views)|
| ||Tasted by avp on 5/17/2013: Slightly volatile caramel nose with strawberries, stonefruits and watermelon as well as notes of fennel, nuts and shellfish.|
Dry and in a way pretty lightbodied palate though with big tactile presence. Good acidic backbone and nice leathery grip. Weightless watermelon and strawberries, raspberries and grapefruit bitterness. Huge nutty twist and caramel richness. Good length.
Fun and very lovely. (1616 views)
| ||Tasted by isaacjamesbaker on 5/17/2013 & rated 86 points: Brett's Birthday Tasting - 2013 (Weygandt Wines - Washington, D.C.): Intellectually speaking, this is an intriguing rose, as always, but in the end I just can't get too excited about it. Strawberry greens, white cherries and brie rind aromas. Sherried on the palate, with flavors of dried berries, melon rind, goat cheese and olive pits. I enjoyed this with cheese and charcuterie, but not the best on its own. I love this producer's whites and reds, but I find the rosado less exciting. (1674 views)|
| ||Tasted by manonthemoon on 5/16/2013 & rated 91 points: N Melon, dried strawberry, rosewater, funk|
P melon rind, funky leather, tobacco, minerals
F AA in length, nice acidity, very complex rose (1203 views)
| ||Tasted by Rob and Meg on 5/16/2013 & rated 88 points: Brett's Birthday (Weygandt Wines - Washington, DC): Interesting, shifting nose of cranberry, dried herbs, tomato, and sherry notes. The palate follows suit with oxidative tart red berries, slate, and worn cedar. The finish adds sweet dried berries and spicy aged tobacco. Medium bodied with still present acidity, this improved with food. Drink. R&M88 (1364 views)|
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NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of JancisRobinson.com and View From the Cellar and Vinous and Wine Library TV and Winedoctor. (manage subscription channels)
|By Luis Gutiérrez|
(López Heredia, Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado Rioja Rosé) Subscribe to see review text.
|By Jancis Robinson, MW|
(López Heredia, Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado Rioja Rosé) Subscribe to see review text.
|By John Gilman|
View From the Cellar, Sep/Oct 2011, Issue #35, Recently Tasted Spanish Wines: Great Old Rioja and An Embarrassment of Riches From Outside the Mainstream Regions
(Viña Tondonia Rioja Rosado “Gran Reserva”- López de Heredia) Login and sign up and see review text.
|By Josh Raynolds|
Vinous, July 2010
(R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva Rioja) Subscribe to see review text.
|By Gary Vaynerchuk|
Wine Library TV, Lopez de Heredia Tasting with Maria Jose Lopez Part 1, Episode #947 (11/10/2010)
(Viña Tondonia Rosé Gran Reserva) COLOR-medium peach skin; NOSE-caramel notes; the aromatics are incredible; strawberry shortcake on the attack, then a butterscotch on the back-end; extraordinary; PALATE-no notes; GV-No Score
|By Chris Kissack|
Winedoctor, November 2010
(López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rioja Rosé Gran Reserva) This is the only rosé included here - perhaps not surprising in a ten-years-on tasting. A rather unique colour for a rosé, more of a golden onion-skin reminiscent of a botrytised wine rather than anything resembling pink. Although a blend of 30% Tempranillo, 60% Garnacho and 10% Viura this wine has spent more than four years in barrel, with racking once per annum, followed by at least five years in bottle, so perhaps the colour should come as no surprise. The nose has a little red-baked-earth character to it, dry and dusty, suggestive of an oxidative streak at least, with a slightly stewed fruit character spiced with pepper and cinnamon. The palate is full and really quite fresh despite that aromatic character, substantial, spicy and peppery, with polished oak and vanillin tones. Very dry, just 6 g/l of residual, with a sappy, rolling finish. There are elements to this I really like, but the streak of oxidation puts something of a dampener on it for me. 15 points
R. López de Heredia Producer Website
Rosé Blend"Rosé blend" can mean a blend of just about any varietals since the designation comes from the resulting color of the wine. (maybe someone can update this article with the traditional blends for different regions). In Bordeaux France for example some Rose's are deeply coloured with a blend of Merlot and Cabenet Franc bled off the Vats at an early stage - see for example Chateau De Sours for a good example of this.
Viña TondoniaJay 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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