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 Vintage1998 Label 1 of 19 
ProducerR. López de Heredia (web)
DesignationBlanco Crianza
VineyardViña Gravonia
RegionLa Rioja
SubRegionLa Rioja Alta

Drinking Windows and Values
Drinking window: Drink between 2008 and 2017 (based on 5 user opinions)

Community Tasting History

Community Tasting Notes (average 90.3 pts. and median of 91 pts. in 38 notes) - hiding notes with no text

 Tasted by tdelorme on 2/9/2015: Excellent showing - really coming into its own and clearly a strong vintage. Amazing QPR at $25.1 (348 views)
 Tasted by cardsandwine on 1/28/2015: First bottle in 6 years and it was superb. Gorgeous golden hue, bouquet of peaches and pears. Great balance, and complexity with a long and lush finish. The wine shows no signs of tiring. (375 views)
 Tasted by Neecies on 10/23/2014 & rated 94 points: Outstanding; just reaching prime time. Highly delineated and complex, long finish. (577 views)
 Tasted by Sauvyfan on 1/3/2014 & rated 90 points: A great food white. Pairs with most anything. (1177 views)
 Tasted by SteveG on 11/8/2013 & rated 92 points: Continues to please, maybe even improving. (1329 views)
 Tasted by jacamp16 on 1/4/2013 & rated 91 points: Opened up a little funky, but quickly blew off into a pretty incredible wine. Grilled lemons, candlewax, and a woodiness that almost seemed like something lighter than oak. Very nice looking goldenrod in the glass. Some may lead you to believe that this is for wine nerds only, but not the case at all. And like another taster had mentioned, this does not show any signs of its age on the palate. (1849 views)
 Tasted by SteveG on 2/4/2012 & rated 91 points: Still delicious, no sign of growing too old. (2464 views)
 Tasted by admid on 9/26/2010 & rated 90 points: App: golden yellow
Aroma: oak and dried fruit with a touch of smooth lemon
Full-bodied and bone dry. Deep, clean, acidic palate, with integrated oak character.
Very good length w/ dried apricot (3047 views)
 Tasted by SteveG on 7/28/2010 & rated 92 points: A reminder of just how good LdH wine is, this would be their low-level white, tasted as before, a bit of wood upon opening. (2575 views)
 Tasted by stevetimko on 6/5/2010: Bone dry and really needs food, but quite complex and delicioius. Lemon zest and nutty on the nose. Nice depth on the palate. The palate largely mirroed the nose with the addtion maybe of dried fruits. No tannins but it kind of seems structured the way it goes from attack to mid palate to finish. The finish is quite long and pleasant. I left the cork out for an hour before we tried it and it was singing right away. (2548 views)
 Tasted by BailliSacks on 2/28/2010: As good as the last. Cheerful and delicious. (2148 views)
 Tasted by Greg Pierce on 12/16/2009: Yellow gold. A bit of honey, some nuts, some flowers, and some citrusy notes on the nose. Lemon curd, nuts, and a kind of earthy quality on the palate. Very delicious, and decidedly better when allowed to warm up a bit (to cellar temperature rather than the normal colder temperature of most white wines). Yum! (2301 views)
 Tasted by flowfilms on 11/27/2009: This wine was the first LDH wine I've ever had and it's a revelation. This is further proof that white can be (and usually is) more complex than its red siblings. Candlewax, honey, apricot, nuts. Oh so glorious and I can tell this is just a basic LDH wine. Lots more to love. (2282 views)
 Tasted by tantotinto on 11/7/2009 & rated 90 points: We ordered this wine at a restaurant. It was our first experience with this varietal and this producer. We thought it a most unusual and delightful wine. It is crisp and citric but with a mineral and earthy undertone (maybe a little like Burgundian funk) that gives it depth. It's firm acidity made it a good match with everything we were served. (2346 views)
 Tasted by slaton on 8/14/2009 flawed bottle: Corked. (2524 views)
 Tasted by ekenneth on 8/9/2009 & rated 91 points: Opened this up cold and it showed almost nothing. An hour or so later, and about 20 degrees warmer, it was all there, as I remembered it. There was good acid, with that Lopez de Heredia honeyed, nutty, citrus flavor. There's good body to this and it holds up well even tasted against red wines. Sometimes I feel like these whites have more guts than their reds, or at least a little harder edge. (2467 views)
 Tasted by ticktock on 7/30/2009 & rated 90 points: Getting along, but still good. Agree with previous reviewers: it gets better as it opens. Lots more sweetness after about an hour. I think I even tasted a bit of BBQ sauce and cumin. I still enjoyed the wine tremendously and the acid, tannin, and mouthfeel were great conversation pieces in themselves. Will buy more. Great QPR for an aged wine. (2516 views)
 Tasted by AtoZ on 6/16/2009 & rated 91 points: Lemony and kind of boring at first. Gained complexity as it warmed up... got mushroom notes in a good way. Mostly interesting due to its age. At home with Paella. (2688 views)
 Tasted by JorgeH on 6/6/2009 & rated 86 points: Casual night @ PMC's (Franklin, MA): A gorgeous pale gold colored wine. On the nose; pretty almond, honeyed wax and floral notes. Unfortunately found it to be a little muted in the mouth with light nutty and faint spiced notes. It had the traditional sherried Heredia notes that their whites are known for but on a much more toned down volume. It improved slightly throughout the night, but, at this point, offers more on the nose than on the palate. Needs time. (2877 views)
 Tasted by the godfather on 5/9/2009 & rated 92 points: Wow, this is well aged aged, perfumed, complex, floral white, very nice (2811 views)
 Tasted by 1981er on 5/3/2009 & rated 91 points: Shows a pale gold color in the glass. Made in the slightly oxidative house style, the nose holds smokey oak, almonds, tons of lemony citrus and orange marmalade, a touch of spice and light diesel tones. After a hour or so of air it shows off lots of nutty character. Full bodied with a waxy mouthfeel, this wine has nice weight and sharp, zingy acidity with citrus, mineral and nutty flavor. A lush, medium length finish completes this wine. Delicious by itself although I'd love to try it with something like a shrimp risotto. (2886 views)
 Tasted by arijus on 4/18/2009 flawed bottle: Oxidized.. (2838 views)
 Tasted by JamesSanders on 4/6/2009 & rated 88 points: Diesal, must and lemon custard. Not ready. Give it some time. (2821 views)
 Tasted by BailliSacks on 3/28/2009 & rated 90 points: Exotic and delicious. Not like any other wine I've tasted. Sharp, acidic, and a little fruity in a way reminiscent of some Italian wines, but with a long mouthy finish a bit like a Chardonnay. Dry. Body is not exactly heavy but lots going on. Dry cured meat, aged olive. Stood up well to food. (2833 views)
 Tasted by mimik on 3/27/2009 & rated 84 points: Montreal Wine Guy Weekend a la Quebecoise; 3/27/2009-3/28/2009 (Wentworth North-Vinaigre's brother's cottage): Simple nose of apple and some sweet pear. Not complex but enjoyable. Lighter on the palate and less interesting than the nose. (3266 views)
 Only displaying the 25 most recent notes - click to see all notes for this wine...

Professional 'Channels'
By Josh Raynolds
Vinous, July/August 2008, IWC Issue #139
(R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia Crianza Blanco Rioja) Subscribe to see review text.
NOTE: Scores and reviews are the property of Vinous. (manage subscription channels)

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

R. López de Heredia

Producer Website


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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