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Cru Wine in the Vines #2: Lopez de Heredia

A trip I will fondly remember as the sun was shining on this beautiful August day and I made my way, for the first time ever, through the mystical estate of Lopez de Heredia.

More commonly known as Vina Tondonia, as I entered the gates I was warmly welcomed by Lidia Zanza and instantly counted myself privileged to be just one of six people privately shown the grounds and delve into the history behind the oldest bodega in Rioja.

Founded in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, some 140 years on and very little has changed. For many years Lopez de Heredia have quietly continued to use sustainable options which are archaic to the methodology used now for decades.

A unique approach from the winery, the wines are aged much longer than the Rioja regulations and only released when considered ready by the estate, giving drinkers the true signature of Vina Tondonia – silky juices, an impeccably balanced palate and infinite capability for aging.

With more than 3,000 square meters of underground cellar, this is one of Riojas most unique spaces for barrel aging with its fungus filled walls and exclusion of new oak and steel tanks. Lidia explained as I sat in amazement and awe amongst wine that awaits to grace our glasses, that this is home to 30-year-old barrels and ancestral winemaking techniques, both key components to what makes Lopez de Heredia a standout in not just Haro, but the whole of Rioja.

Eagerly awaiting to see what Lidia was reaching for in the cellar, we were met with two sensational bottles: a 2009 Vina Bosconia Riserva and a 2009 Vina Tondonia Riserva. Both drinking exceptionally well and drawing me to a comparison of an almost Burgundian style wine, given its significant long aging. Each cuvee had a shining personality and was a true expression of their individual terroirs – despite having almost the same blend of Tempranillo, Granacha and Mazuela.

A big thank you to Lidia Zanza and Lopez de Heredia for the cultivating experience and unforgettable tasting, one I surely won’t forget anytime soon!

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