R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja, La Rioja, Spain, 2003
This wine: lot No. L-0166. Tondonia is a 170ha vineyard on the western right bank of the River Ebro, with alluvial clay and limestone soil. The grapes are always used in the production of the topmost quality wines. It is unclear as to whether just French, US, or some combination of barrels are used in the ageing process. A blend selected from tempranillo, garnacha, graciano and mazuelo (carignan); a natural cork closure, stained over 20%, 13% abv, Waitrose Cellar, £28 (08/16)
There is an interesting passage at the producer website, relating their view on varietal contribution to a blend …
++ tempranillo = fuller body, more colour, but less character
++ mazuelo = more acidity and character, less colour, longer ageing
++ graciano = more acidity and character, less colour, longer ageing
Consumer tasting note: garnet hued with complex aromas of rich dark berries and cherry, savoury with a little toast and cumin spice, a touch of rich tea rose, then off into red berries and red cherry liqueur, spicy red plum juice, liquorice, cedar and raisin; medium bodied, with ripe flavours of rich black cherry jam, stewed black fruits, prune, raisin, red cherry juice, and black boiled sweets. Finishes long. Decant for an hour.
Last tasted 16/09/16
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of a creamy lactic nuance, black cherry, savoury, toast, a little spicy, cumin, liquorice, earthy black plum jam, more fragrant blackberry, tea rose, bees-wax, blackcurrant, warm damp leaves, stewed red berries, hint of red cherry liqueur, spiced red plum juice, old polished wood, a hint of gentle low-key oakiness, hint of vanilla, warm black liquorice, touch of dry prune, a whiff of cedar, warm raisin [plus on day 2, dark chocolate and a touch of gunpowder – like old spent shotgun cartridges used to smell].
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, a velvety texture with a sense of sweet ripe fruit in mid-palate, with flavours of rich black cherry jam, stewed black fruits, savoury, an edge of low-key oak, touch of dry prune, a little spicy, black currant boiled sweets, hint of warm raisin, freshly defrosted strawberry, rich ripe red cherry juice, dark glace cherry, black boiled sweets. A long length, with a clean stewed red cherry, underpinned with richer stewed black cherry finish, with a little savouriness on the end. [plus on day 2, the wine becomes a little porty].
Quality: outstanding, perfectly matched really quite fresh acidity and ripe tannins with alcohol; a strong intensity throughout with slightly lesser concentration; showing a high level of complexity from time in well-integrated wood – spice, and toast, and in bottle – stewed and dried fruit, bees-wax, damp leaves, and old polished wood; finishes long.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing over say 3-5 years – a sound structure, all indicators are at the top end – intensity, concentration, length, and of strong complexity, on the way to fully developed, but with fruit to work with.