Today we are delighted to release Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 2006. This has been awarded a superb 95 points from Luis Gutierrez, its highest score from the Wine Advocate since 1994. It is priced today on release at £117 per case of six, a truly incredible price for a 95-point scoring Wine Advocate wine, at £19.50 a bottle; this gives it a Price Over Points (POP) Score of 16. The top producers in Rioja are a well-kept secret producing the most traditional illustration of the world-famous grape, Tempranillo; Lopez de Heredia is unquestionably one of these. In terms of value for money, leading critics believe they top the list, offering years of ageing, combined with passion and superb quality. Vina Tondonia Reserva has been aged for over a decade and competes with Bordeaux and Burgundy in terms of quality, yet at a fraction of the price. The tradition of ageing means that the wine is released today ready to drink, but will also age spectacularly for decades.

Rioja POP Score distribution is much lower than most regions, offering some of the best quality in the world. However, Lopez de Heredia offers the best POP of all, 16 is an outlier for a fine wine! £19.50 is a remarkable price for a wine made by such a global powerhouse, from truly great vineyards and for a wine aged so many years before release, simply put, Lopez de Heredia is a truly unmissable wine at this price point. The score for the 2006 surpasses that of the 2000 and 1997, which trade today at £275 and £360 respectively per case. This is representative of the secondary market and collector’s willingness to pay £40 and upwards a bottle in bond for this Spanish superstar. In 2006 18,300 cases of Vina Tondonia Reserva 2006 were made by Lopez de Heredia and as with all years, will be exhausted by the global market before the new release hits the market.

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The wines of Lopez de Heredia for many create an emotive and transcendent leitmotif. The vineyard 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 their world famous Tondonia vineyards that vaunt 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 combination of terroir, aspect and climatic conditions.

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 Lopez de Heredia on release, as such, we are delighted to offer a special price of £425 when buying 24 bottles.

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