López de Heredia is one of the wine world’s great treasures and the Spanish poster child for classic, traditional Rioja. ‘The wines themselves are now the height of fashion,’ writes Decanter, ‘and the ultimate expression of the region of La Rioja Alta.’ It is our absolute privilege to offer the new vintages from this 144-year-old dynasty.
The main difference between López de Heredia and the rest of Rioja is their traditional way of producing wine. Tempranillo is blended with Garnacho, Mazuelo and Graciano, producing a lighter, more ethereal style of red. The grapes are also picked at lower alcohols and aged for far longer than the appellation dictates. In fact, their Cubillo Crianza is aged for longer than the legally required minimum for Gran Reserva Rioja!
These wines are oxidative, savoury, finely elegant and have a depth of umami flavour that makes them so food-friendly. We cannot recommend all of their wines enough.
Their range of reds opens with their unusually complex, intriguing 2012 Viña Cubillo Crianza. Spending less time in barrel than the Reservas, it offers more red fruit with their signature, sweet tobacco spice and fine-boned acidity. ‘This was born as a red for tapas,’ writes Luis Gutiérrez. Is there better value in the wine world?
The 2009 Viña Bosconia Reserva is the more powerfully structured of the two red Reservas and shows immense concentration from the warm, dry 2009 vintage. Finally, their flagship wine from their largest, most famous vineyard, the 2008 Viña Tondonia Reserva is elegant, nuanced and full of energy. It expresses the freshness and delicacy of the vineyard and the cool 2008 vintage, scoring a whopping 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
Since 1877, over four generations, López de Heredia has been making wine in the same patient way. ‘To capture the essence of Rioja one can’t change with every trend,’ says Maria López Heredia, ‘for us, tradition and conviction are life-long attitudes.’
López de Heredia, Viña Cubillo Crianza 2012 – R 315
‘I was quite impressed by the 2012 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza, a classical Rioja that is nicely crafted, with less aging in barrel than the rest of reds and therefore with more fruit character and less López de Heredia signature. This was born as a red for tapas, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho and 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo with 13.5% alcohol. It matured in well-seasoned American oak barrels for three years. It has ripe fruit (black rather than red) without excess and a pinch of spices and a twist of oak. 94,500 bottles produced. There are seven lots of this. I tasted a bottled that was filled in May 2018. 2020 – 2027.’ – Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, 93/100 (Tasted October 2020)
López de Heredia, Viña Bosconia Reserva 2009 – R 450
‘The 2009 Viña Bosconia Reserva shows the ripeness of the very warm and dry year. It’s structured and concentrated, quite different from the finesse of the Tondonia. Bosconia has always been more rustic and powerful and Tondonia all about finesse and nuance. There are dark plums and baking spices, a touch of singed leather, the fruit very strong to counterbalance the aging in barrel. This is a powerful Bosconia. 80,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2016. 2020 – 2027.’ – Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, 92/100 (Tasted October 2020)
López de Heredia, Viña Tondonia Reserva 2008 – R 595
‘The nose of the 2008 Viña Tondonia Reserva is very elegant, fresh and with an herbal twist, starting to show the complexity of the aged wines that are sometimes still too young when they are released 10+ years from the vintage! The palate is medium-bodied, with lightness and depth, very classical with extra freshness and all that is needed for a long development in bottle. This is the more Tondonia of the two vintages I tasted side by side. There are notes of maple syrup, smoke, licorice and crisp fruit. The palate is more austere, crunchy and reveals the chalkiness of the soils. There’s more definition and precision here. 2020 – 2030.’ – Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate, 95/100 (Tasted October 2020)