R. Lopez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia Reserva, Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja, La Rioja, Spain, 2004
This wine: lot No. Lo228, Tondonia is a 170ha vineyard on the western right bank of the river Ebro, on an alluvial clay and limestone soil. The grapes here, are always used in the production of the producer’s premier cuvees. It is unclear as to whether just French, US, or some combination of barrels are used in the ageing process. The blend is selected from tempranillo, garnacha, graciano and mazuelo (carignan); coated natural cork closure (stained to full length), 13% abv, Costco, £24 (11/16)
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: showing a garnet hue, this is a Rioja with long bottle age and well integrated oak, with aromas of black berry and black cherry, spice, liquorice and tobacco; medium bodied, with flavours of black berries again, then red cherry juice and spicy red plum jam, along with dark chocolate, liquorice, and a touch of vanilla. Finishes long.
Drink now – RTD, but will keep – Wait. Decant for an hour.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears [no sediment].
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of a touch of struck match, stewed red plums, hint of black berry, red liquorice, touch of spice, beeswax, leaf humus, dried cranberry, whiff of toast, black cherry, tobacco, black liquorice.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, with a sense of sweetness in mid-palate aka sucrosity, with flavours of black cherry, squashed black berry, red cherry juice, red plum jam, hint of spice – sweet vanilla, hint of sweet oak, dark chocolate, black liquorice. A long length, with a clean black berried finish, with beeswax on the end.
Quality: very good, perfectly balanced fresh acidity and ripe tannins with alcohol, altogether harmonious; better than average intensity with similar concentration, showing a moderate-high complexity, with evidence of well integrated oak (toast and spice) and time in bottle (beeswax, dried berries, leaf humus and tobacco) – the note of chocolate is from the oxidised family. Finishes long.
Readiness for drinking/ageing potential: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 2-4 years, and will keep longer – a sound structure and balance, lots of intensity and concentration, with an element of primary fruit, and a good long length; showing a developing tertiary dimension, which should continue to broaden and deepen.