Lopez de Heredia Rioja Vina Tondonia Reserva 2009
About 75% Tempranillo the rest Mazuelo and Graciano. While a winemaking revolution has raged around them, a handful of bodegas have stayed true to the traditions that made Rioja famous. Perhaps the best known of these in the United States is López de Heredia. Little about López de Heredia has changed in the more than 130 years since its founding. It occupies the same historic cellars and unlike most of their competitors, which are now owned by outside investors, López de Heredia is owned—and every detail of its operation is handled—by the family who founded it. Most Rioja wineries buy grapes from dozens of small growers; but not López de Heredia. They own every inch of the vineyards that supply their wines. Only natural yeasts are used and there is no filtration. They still age their greatest wines in wood for six to eight years and even make their own barrels. The bodega is now in the capable hands of the family’s youngest generation—Maria José and Mercedes. Yet, still, nothing changes. In fact, these two are philosophically committed to the winery’s traditions as their parents and grandparents were before them. López de Heredia's two grand wines appear under two different labels, Tondonia and Bosconia, each named for a vineyard the family purchased nearly a century ago. The Tondonia vineyard is their most famous; over 100 hectares, it is situated in a shell-shaped depression on the right bank of the river Ebro, where the most typical Rioja wines are grown. The soil is alluvial clay with a high proportion of limestone. The average vine age is 45 years old and organic farming and natural fermentations are implemented, creating wines that exhibit great terroir. Grapes from Viña Tondonia are always used in making their highest quality wines. The first Reserva was bottled by the founder in 1890; a few bottles of this are still kept in the family wine museum. This Reserva is a superb red wine that is of a style that is going extinct is exactly what Lopez de Heredia is all about. Tradition.