The 2001 Vina Tondonia Reserva is bridled with a lovely nose of decayed red fruit, fireside hearth, a touch of mulberry and small red cherry. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, crisp red fruits (wild strawberry and cranberry) with a sharp, vibrant, tense, tannic finish that has immense precision. There is a slight saline note lingering in the mouth after the wine has (regretfully) departed. Drink now-2030+. I have adored, indeed occasionally worshiped, the wines of Lopez de Heredia for many years, so I am not ashamed to admit that visiting both their vineyard and their winery was a pilgrimage. Founded by Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Landeta in 1877, it has withstood the tide of corporatization and homogeneity, and epitomizes timeless, artisan winemaking in their own individual, almost solipsistic manner. Technology is noticeable by its absence here. For example, to quote her sister Maria-Jose at a tasting that I subsequently attended in London: “Indigenous yeasts have adapted to high temperatures. To control the temperature during fermentation, we open doors and windows” and “malolactic is the invention of modern winemakers.” I had to check whether this was 2012 or 1912....
Combine old vines, traditional winemaking and the stunning 2001 season - then wait nine years. What you end up with is a wine built in four dimensions, the power and density of fruit rounded by time, the graceful hand of the winemaker capturing the season in subtle scents of rose and cherry-skin tannin. Everything about the wine is gentle while remarkably long, set to develop for another nine years or more.
(75% tempranillo, 15% garnacha and 5% each of graciano and mazuelo) Bright medium red. Expansive bouquet of musky red and dark berries, medicinal cherry, rose oil and Asian spices. Juicy raspberry and rose pastille flavors are framed by silky tannins and given a boost by zesty minerality. Packs a solid punch but comes off almost weightless. The tannins fade into the sweet fruit on the finish, which is strikingly pure and very persistent. Lovely right now.
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