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The 2006 Tondonia is a stunning wine from Lopez de Heredia. There's dried fruits and herbs, with notes of graphite and wonderful spice. This is long and finely balanced, with remarkable purity and freshness on the finish for a 12 year old wine. Outstanding.
The red flagship 2006 Viña Tondonia Reserva was inspired by the vineyards of the Médoc but produced with local grapes, 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo, which achieved 13% alcohol in 2006. It always matures in used American oak barriques for some six years. The oldest of all the reds I tasted, it was also the one with more freshness, which speaks to the quality of the vineyard. This takes the lion's share of the 400,000 bottles the winery produces, with some 220,000 bottles filled over a period of 12 consecutive days in May 2014.
When I asked María José López de Heredia about their latest news, she simply replied, "We keep making Viña Tondonia as we have always done it." But the good news is that the rosé is making a comeback in the market, as the 2008 is released ten years after the harvest. The previous vintage was 2000, but there was a hiatus, as the market didn't support an oak-aged rosé with ten years of age, and they stopped making it. However, tastes changed again, and when demand came back, they had no wine to offer. It's the same as the rest of the other Gran Reserva wines, which will not come back into the market until 2021, with the wines from the exceptional 2001 vintage. I'm already counting down the days!
Here, the surprise is 2006, which in some parts of Rioja could be a bit warm but here is a lot fresher, and the wines are superb. They compared it with 2015, a year they like very much and think will have to be aged in barriques for a very long time. As for 2017, they had a big loss of volume because of frost.
Even if their wines are released at least ten years after the harvest, most of them will develop in bottle for years, sometimes decades, something I know well, but María José López de Heredia insisted on uncorking a rosé and a white from the 1970s that were singing.
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