Today we are delighted to release Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 2007. This has been awarded a stunning 96 points from Luis Gutierrez, its highest score ever from The Wine Advocate, only bested by a couple of Grand Reserva vintages, the 1970 and 1995. The score for the 2007 exceeds that of the 2000 and 1997 Reserva, which trade today at £275 and £360 per case respectively, while the 95 scoring 1994 trades above £700 a 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 2007 16,000 cases of Vina Tondonia Reserva 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. Of the 2007 Gutierrez says it ‘is showing great, revealing unusual finesse and elegance. The nose is a little reticent but nuanced and complex, a little shy rather than explosive’. Vina Tondonia Reserva is a tantalising prospect, which priced at £129 per case of six, over-delivers on price.

Boasting a Wine Advocate score of 96 and priced at £21.50 a bottle the 2007 has 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.

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 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 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 £480 when buying 24 bottles.