2000LopezTondoniaBlanco2000 Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia, Reserva Blanco, White Rioja DO, Rioja Alta, Haro, Spain.
This historic winery has been around since 1877 and has been a bastion of tradition ever since, and while their red Rioja are glorious wines, it is their amazing long lived whites that make this winery one of the world’s best and most interesting, especially this Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco. Sometimes in the past I’ve cringed at mild oxidation and may not have given these wines their due respect, but at a recent tasting I was blown away at the freshness and detail of these wines, even the 1994 vintage was singing a youthful song from the glass, but for me the 15 year old 2000 vintage Vina Tondonia was the most impressive and incredibly lovely and vital. The Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva Blanco is a blend usually 80-85% Viura and 15-20% Malvasia and it ages wonderfully, and this 2000 has no hint of age yet, crisp and mineral driven, gorgeous as can be, with steely notes, white flowers, chalky stones, bright citrus, with lime and tangerine, zesty saline and peach notes flowing in the glass. These whites are unique and highly sought after, they remind me somewhat of late release Semillon, not in flavor really but feel, aged Hunter Valley wines from Australia come to mind, as do Graves white Bordeaux (Think Haut-Brion blanc) and Cantina Terlano in Alto Adige, Italy which hold back some whites for decades, plus even California has Kalin Cellars which release long aged white wines, in fact they are just on to their 2000 vintage Semillon. But these Lopez de Heredia whites stand above and apart, they offer richness of detail and give pleasure in a class hard to beat, with ultra traditional methods, organic farming and all native yeast fermentation, along with doing all their own cooperage work, from American oak, using big casks as not to crowd the wines for their long journey, making each highly individual offerings. Over time these wines gain body and length adding honeycomb notes, sweet lemon curd, nutty elements and soft woody notes, but right now this 2000 Vina Tondonia is a marvel of clarity and brisk with vibrancy, I might prefer it as it is now, but there is plenty of time ahead, this wine is stunning and beautiful, drink from 2015 to 2022.
($50+ Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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