Today we are delighted to offer the Rioja super-star, Lopez de Heredia’s Vina Tondonia Reserva 2009. Lopez de Heredia is unquestionably one of the top producers in Rioja who encapsulates all of the best Spanish wine-making traditions. Their flagship wine, Vina Tondonia Reserva competes with Bordeaux and Burgundy in terms of quality, yet is available at a fraction of the price.

The 2009 release is a magnificent expression of the warm vintage, the wine bursting with fruit and showing plenty of character. Luis Guittierez of The Wine Advocate awarded it with 93 points, admiring its power and finesse: “It has some toasted character, with ripe fruit, black rather than red, denoting a warm year but more restrained than the Bosconia Reserva from the same vintage. 2009 is a year of ripeness, concentration and tannin; the wines are powerful, but here you see the finesse of Tondonia in comparison to the more rustic Viña Bosconia.” A blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and 5% each Mazuelo and Graciano, the wine was matured in used American oak barrels for six years, followed by several years in bottle before release.

At just £24 per bottle, Tondonia is an amazing value Rioja. The tradition of ageing means that the wine is released today ready to drink but will also age spectacularly.

Lopez de Heredia was founded in 1877, a time when French negociants searched Rioja for the best vineyard plots to source grapes while Bordeaux was decimated by Phylloxera. It was at this time that Don Rafael Lopez established the world famous Tondonia vineyards that boast alluvial slopes overlooking the River Ebro, straddling the Alta and Alavesa wine sub-regions. The vineyard is close to the railway station at Haro, a symbolic reminder of the need to transport their grapes to Bordeaux to fill the void left in the wake of Bordeaux’s most difficult era.

It was here that Don Rafael channelled his knowledge, passion and vision into the romantic architecture reminiscent of the Sagrada Familia. Today you will find this structure still unfinished near the observation tower at Haro, known locally as the Txori-Toki, a Basque term for bird house. This overlooks the 170 hectares of the Lopez de Heredia estate of which Tondonia is the largest and most famous (70 hectares), the other vineyards are Cubillo, Bosconia and Granvonia, each with a different terroir and style.

Don Rafael fell in love with the region and especially the area around Haro, the mythical capital of the Rioja Alta region. He observed that there was a magical combination of soil and climate that would offer the perfect environment for producing wine that would eventually become world famous. The bodega continues in the capable and equally passionate hands of Maria-Jose, Mercedes and Julio Cesar, the newest generation who grew up in the vines and stay true to their magnificent terroir.

Lopez de Heredia is the most traditional Spanish winery in the Rioja region; they continue to use large American oak barrels, forgoing the smaller French style many other producers in Rioja have subsequently changed to. They store and age their wines for decades, far longer than the minimum requirements for Reserva and Gran Reserva, they even make their own barrels! We highly recommend stocking up on this wine on release.