Had a Glass: 1992 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

Vintage: 1992
Producer: R. López de Heredia
Variety: Viura
Designation: Viña Tondonia
Region: Spain
Sub-region: La Rioja Alta, Rioja
ABV: 12.5%
Price: $56 (BC LDB)

He says: There’s a lot of buzz in the wine geek community about this producer, and it reached a fever pitch a few months back when Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia, the winemaker, paid a visit to the self-proclaimed “Best Place on Earth” (ugh). After tasting this bottle, I had a better appreciation for the plaudits. This wine is amazingly unique and something that every wine lover should taste and experience, even if you end up saying it’s not your cup of tea. There is an amazing interplay of oxidative notes (it’s 18 years old!), nuttiness, and some musky animal smells, all brought into balance and harmony by a backbone of stone fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s entirely different; the fruit still alive and youthful. A tale of two wines? Not when it’s this intriguing. Excellent, for me, and highly recommended.

She says: I appreciated the complexity of this wine with its multitude of aromas and flavours. You could almost taste the “passion” it had been made with yet it did not evoke the same passion in me. I could not get as excited as the others around the table which I guess puts me into the ‘not my cup of tea’ category. I could not quite put my finger on what I found off-putting; it definitely had some oxidative and nutty characters which I love in Sherry but didn’t sit well for me in this wine. I am happy to leave this one to the wine geeks.

Tasting note

Looks like: Clear, med+ gold
Smells like: Slightly oxidized, med+ intensity, fully developed, nutty, earth, stone fruit, musk
Tastes like: Dry, med acidity, med+ body, med intensity, nutty, citrus, apple, honey, mineral, musk, grapey, med alcohol, med+ finish
Summary: Excellent, Ready to drink but can keep

5 comments to Had a Glass: 1992 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

  • Was interesting, but I dunno not “blow me away”. I kinda of perfered Musar Blanc, I know you mentioned you didnt’ but they are different styles

    • WCVR

      You and the Mrs are in the same “didn’t love it” boat. I’d like to say you’re both wrong, but we can each have our own opinions. :-)

      It is intriguing, no doubt about it. /Mr

  • I get what you say on this. HOWEVER, if you met Maria then you would understand why this winery is important. There is nothing to say this has to be your favourite winery (it’s not mine), but you have to respect the significance LdH has in Spanish wine. If not for them, well, I’d fear for all of Spain. And, you should not drink these without food. Why do we need to be blown away? That’s not the point of these wines. They aren’t the cliched “mind-blowing” wines. Take this white and a piece of Serrano Jamon – and maybe a marcona almond. That’s all you need. Saying you don’t like LdH is kind of like saying you don’t like Charlie Parker.

    • WCVR

      Hi Shea,

      I’m not sure if you’re addressing our review, or the commenter who wrote they weren’t “blown away”.

      Anyway, if you are inferring we were disrespectful to the significance of LdH’s contribution to Spanish Wine, I’d point you to any of our numerous reviews where we think a wine sucks and show some proper disrespect. It’s apparent that you’ve met her personally and consider that a part of your evaluation of her wines. Our reviews consider the bottle contents only, not the context (which you do a great job of covering on your blog).

      Some other points
      - We always have our wine with food, and consider our review over the course of the meal, letting the wine open up and have time to breathe. I’m not sure where you got the idea that we don’t have our wine with food.
      - The comparison of musical taste and wine is appropriate, but I’d challenge your conclusion. Who declared Charlie Parker the zenith of music? To each their own.

      Thanks for commenting. /Mr

  • It’s not about being the Zenith, it’s about the fact that modern Jazz would not exist but for Parker. Like and dislike is irrelevant. :)

    Fair enough on the bottle contents only thing – I guess I just don’t think that’s the best way to think about wine. Why should anyone care about one person’s individual taste? Isn’t that just what Parker et al do? Maybe I’m just getting surly :p. I like what you guys do here so please don’t get me wrong. In the end, who cares what I say too right? :D Just a perspective.

Wine truths

“She gets to keep the chalet and the Rolls, I want the Montrachet.”
by Anonymous

Wine Ratings

★☆☆☆☆ - Poor quality. Avoid. Save your money. Between 80-84 points.

★★☆☆☆ - Average quality or poor value. Between 84-88 points. Some expensive wines are downgraded for bad value.

★★★☆☆ - Good. Between 88-92 points. Or a good value on the lower end of the point scale.

★★★☆☆ - Excellent quality. Between 92-96 points. Or a cheap yet good quality wine which is excellent value.

★★★☆☆ - Outstanding, best examples in the world. Between 96 and 100 points. A perfect wine.