TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

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A. So
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TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#1 Post by A. So » July 22nd, 2018, 4:18 pm

  • 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (7/22/2018)
    White rioja has always been a bit of a struggle to me. Part of it is that it is incredibly difficult to pair (and it's not particularly pleasant when you're drinking it without food either), and the other part is that it kind of smells like the heartbreak of premoxed white Burgundy. Well, this bottle is no exception, but thinking that this would have paired well with Cantonese lobster noodles, I brought this along. Indeed, the pairing is brilliant. The sweetness of the lobster helps accentuate the acidity in this otherwise waxy and oily wine, and the nutty, oxidative elements give way to the salinity in the brown sauce. It's certainly an odd wine, and honestly, I don't know if I would feel as bullish about this wine on another day, but today, it just worked perfectly. (93 pts.)

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TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#2 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 22nd, 2018, 4:53 pm

You picked a good pairing, and the food is important for these wines, especially when they are very young like this one. Seafood paella (including grilled lobster in the mix if desired) is a classic pairing. The wine pops especially with fresh lemon to finish the paella. Spanish shrimp in garlic is another dish that works well.

BTW I don’t think it’s an odd wine. Unique maybe. Isn’t the question of oddity just a statement about what you are accustomed to?

And they do age remarkably well.

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TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#3 Post by A. So » July 22nd, 2018, 5:00 pm

Jayson Cohen wrote:You picked a good pairing, and the food is important for these wines, especially when they are very young like this one. Seafood paella (including grilled lobster in the mix if desired) is a classic pairing. The wine pops especially with fresh lemon to finish the paella. Spanish shrimp in garlic is another dish that works well.

BTW I don’t think it’s an odd wine. Unique maybe. Isn’t the question of oddity just a statement about what you are accustomed to?

And they do age remarkably well.
That's a fair cop -- white rioja is a thing I tend to not drink very much of because I have trouble with the pairings. I do have one of those famed 1986 Ygays on deck though; a seafood paella sounds perfect for that -- a much more classical suggestion than Cantonese lobster noodles ;)
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TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#4 Post by Ramon C » July 22nd, 2018, 5:04 pm

Odd? Not. But hand-sliced Jamón ibérico and Spanish olives also go well with the wine (with absence of a good sherry).
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TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#5 Post by Jorge Henriquez » July 22nd, 2018, 5:11 pm

I would treat a good caliber white Rioja similar to a Fino or Manzanilla in terms of food pairing. Gazpacho, fresh seafood, rice dishes, gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp).

Glad you ended up enjoying the LdH.
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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#6 Post by Laurent Gibet » November 15th, 2019, 5:39 am

A. So wrote:
July 22nd, 2018, 4:18 pm
  • 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (7/22/2018)
    White rioja has always been a bit of a struggle to me. Part of it is that it is incredibly difficult to pair (and it's not particularly pleasant when you're drinking it without food either), and the other part is that it kind of smells like the heartbreak of premoxed white Burgundy. Well, this bottle is no exception, but thinking that this would have paired well with Cantonese lobster noodles, I brought this along. Indeed, the pairing is brilliant. The sweetness of the lobster helps accentuate the acidity in this otherwise waxy and oily wine, and the nutty, oxidative elements give way to the salinity in the brown sauce. It's certainly an odd wine, and honestly, I don't know if I would feel as bullish about this wine on another day, but today, it just worked perfectly. (93 pts.)
Had it yesterday evening (we had a beautiful Musar white 2009 in the other glass). Really excellent (17,5/20).
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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#7 Post by Mike Grammer » November 15th, 2019, 8:39 am

Thanks for these notes and thoughts, guys. To Jayson's comments, I guess I'm most surprised that a 2004 Bianco is open for business in any way this early. Would love to hear from those who have some decent exposure to this cuvee whether they think the winemaking has changed in the last few years. I have 2 bottles of the 05 and would normally look to let them sleep for at least 6 or 7 more years.
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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#8 Post by Chris Seiber » November 15th, 2019, 10:34 am

A. So wrote:
July 22nd, 2018, 4:18 pm
Well, this bottle is no exception, but thinking that this would have paired well with Cantonese lobster noodles, I brought this along. Indeed, the pairing is brilliant.
Good thing you didn't ask the board what to pair with that Cantonese dish - otherwise you would have been stuck drinking tea or Tsing Tao.

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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#9 Post by M Mager » November 15th, 2019, 10:36 am

Mike Grammer wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 8:39 am
Thanks for these notes and thoughts, guys. To Jayson's comments, I guess I'm most surprised that a 2004 Bianco is open for business in any way this early. Would love to hear from those who have some decent exposure to this cuvee whether they think the winemaking has changed in the last few years. I have 2 bottles of the 05 and would normally look to let them sleep for at least 6 or 7 more years.
My experience with the Tondonia Blanco Reserva only goes back to vintages from the late 1980's. I can't say I've noticed any change in winemaking style from the pre-2000 vintages to the more recent ones (though I haven't tasted the current release 2006 yet). In my experience, the Tondonia Blanco Reserva is actually more consistent vintage-to-vintage than the Granvonia Crianzas are. For the Reservas, I tend to open one right after they become available, and then put the rest away as you do. I don't really notice a significant change in maturation even 5-10 years later. I"m increasingly convinced that the aging curve for the Blanco Reservas are much closer to the aging curves of the Blanco GRs that most people assume. Just my $0.02, though I suspect other's may differ.

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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#10 Post by GregT » November 15th, 2019, 10:50 am

Mike Grammer wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 8:39 am
Thanks for these notes and thoughts, guys. To Jayson's comments, I guess I'm most surprised that a 2004 Bianco is open for business in any way this early. Would love to hear from those who have some decent exposure to this cuvee whether they think the winemaking has changed in the last few years. I have 2 bottles of the 05 and would normally look to let them sleep for at least 6 or 7 more years.
They're ready when released. If you choose to let them age, that's up to you, but it's not required at all. And LdH isn't the only producer that makes good whites. I've had some going back to the 50s and they're just fine. Most will seem slightly oxidized, esp LdH, and that's because they are slightly oxidized. But unlike Burgundy, it doesn't get worse every year. It's slightly oxidized when bottled and more or less stays that way. BTW, the 05 is a great vintage and you can drink today, tomorrow, or in a few years.
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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#11 Post by Mike Grammer » November 15th, 2019, 9:08 pm

OK, thanks Greg, Michael and others for the very helpful input. BTW, a 2000 Gravonia Blanco had a couple months ago was terrific.
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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#12 Post by Mark Y » November 15th, 2019, 10:04 pm

i find rioja whites consistent with Adrian's description.. waxy, oily, and difficult to pair..

definitely interesting for 3 oz.. but probably not a lot more.
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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#13 Post by Otto Forsberg » November 16th, 2019, 12:31 pm

Mark Y wrote:
November 15th, 2019, 10:04 pm
definitely interesting for 3 oz.. but probably not a lot more.
No. After that 3 oz you are perfectly fine with the wine and then it's just hands down delicious from that point on.

I don't get what is so difficult in pairing with these wines. As long as the wines are not from those hotter, lower-acidity vintages, they are remarkably versatile, pairing well with tons of different seafood and rich veggie dishes. I can imagine poultry and many other white meat dishes could work easily too.

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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#14 Post by Warren Taranow » November 16th, 2019, 1:06 pm

I opened a 1996 LdH Blanco Gran Reserva Tondonia with paella several months ago. It was my ROTY ("R" for revelation). I found it a beautiful complex work of art, with too many fruits, flowers, nuts and spices to describe. Perfectly proportioned flavors and acid, and just the right amount of oxidative notes. I'd put it in the running for my favorite wine this year.

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Re: TN: 2004 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Reserva Viña Tondonia

#15 Post by M Mager » November 16th, 2019, 3:25 pm

Warren Taranow wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 1:06 pm
I opened a 1996 LdH Blanco Gran Reserva Tondonia with paella several months ago. It was my ROTY ("R" for revelation). I found it a beautiful complex work of art, with too many fruits, flowers, nuts and spices to describe. Perfectly proportioned flavors and acid, and just the right amount of oxidative notes. I'd put it in the running for my favorite wine this year.
Here's the best part -- that's still their current release vintage! (I thought about making a joke about "baby-killing" here...)

This wine will only keep getting better for, oh, about the next 30-40 years.

Michael
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