TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

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Robert.A.Jr.
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TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#1 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 19th, 2019, 5:17 pm

This wine surprised me by how much I like it. In theory, I should be a big fan of old world Rioja. The problem, however, is that I am not a fan, generally speaking, of American oak. And lots of Riojas showcase that American oak range of notes that I just do not like. On this wine, it works, but granted, the oak presence is really rather subdued. I know Tondonia has a larger amount of used oak, but I do not know the breakdown for this vintage.

At $35 or so, this is a silly value.

A really pretty nose of dried red fruits, tobacco, dried herbs and a hint of citrus. The citrusy notes become more pronounced on the palate, giving this wine a zesty feel to it. Fresh, medium in body, but more so because of the depth and texture to the materials rather than the actual weight. Dusty earthy, cocoa powder, herbs. Sweet, tangy finish with just a touch of chewiness. I have limited experience with this winery, but I think this wine will hit a sweet-spot in 2-3 years and really shine for quite some time.

A lovely, elegant wine. If you enjoy old world claret, try this wine.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#2 Post by NoahR » June 19th, 2019, 5:42 pm

Both this and the 2005 are silly good wines.

The American Oak never quite fades. Did a tasting of 1964-1980 Imperial vs Viña Real and it sticks out like a sore thumb even in the 64 and 66. Monte Bello is the same way. St least I like it as it mellows.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#3 Post by M Mager » June 19th, 2019, 6:10 pm

Robert,

Welcome to the dark side...

Come up to the PacNW for a tri. We'll pop a few of their Gran Reservas. You'll forget all about that Bordeaux stuff. 😎

The 2006 is just a baby at this point.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#4 Post by Markus S » June 19th, 2019, 6:30 pm

I'm not surprised. You like Ridge as well, and they use Am-oak as well. Like they say, it's not the size of the barrel that matters, it's how you use it. [cheers.gif]
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#5 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 19th, 2019, 6:35 pm

Ridge is an interesting discussion. If you’ve seen some of my posts, I’m both positive about, and critical of, Ridge. I wish they’d tune down the use of new American oak, and would love to see them use French oak for the Cabs.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#6 Post by GregT » June 19th, 2019, 7:29 pm

The thing about that oak on the LdH is that if you taste those wines young, you wouldn't like them. The 2006 wasn't a very good vintage but you're still drinking it at 12 years in or more and that oak, while it never fades entirely, is subdued.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#7 Post by brigcampbell » June 19th, 2019, 7:57 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 6:35 pm
Ridge is an interesting discussion. If you’ve seen some of my posts, I’m both positive about, and critical of, Ridge. I wish they’d tune down the use of new American oak, and would love to see them use French oak for the Cabs.
I don't like American oak.

There I said it.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#8 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 19th, 2019, 8:04 pm

#MAFA

Make America French Again!

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#9 Post by Ian S » June 19th, 2019, 8:20 pm

If it weren't for the French, we'd be calling it British Colonial Oak instead of American Oak. [cheers.gif]
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#10 Post by Ramon C » June 19th, 2019, 9:53 pm

GregT wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 7:29 pm
The thing about that oak on the LdH is that if you taste those wines young, you wouldn't like them. The 2006 wasn't a very good vintage but you're still drinking it at 12 years in or more and that oak, while it never fades entirely, is subdued.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#11 Post by Jason T » June 20th, 2019, 1:50 am

Timely note, as the Costco here in London has these for GBP 23 each. I'd been wanting a reason to pull the trigger and here it is.
Last edited by Jason T on June 20th, 2019, 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#12 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 20th, 2019, 2:24 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 5:17 pm
This wine surprised me by how much I like it. In theory, I should be a big fan of old world Rioja. The problem, however, is that I am not a fan, generally speaking, of American oak. And lots of Riojas showcase that American oak range of notes that I just do not like. On this wine, it works, but granted, the oak presence is really rather subdued. I know Tondonia has a larger amount of used oak, but I do not know the breakdown for this vintage.
To my understanding, RLdH never exceeds 10% in renewing their barrels and all their wines see 5-10% new oak. There's some variation between the vintages, but IIRC the differences are very minuscule.

The only problem I have with some RLdH reds is the subtly metallic brett character their wines have. Most of the time it's well hidden, but at times it can peek through, lending a slightly off note to an otherwise beautiful wine. The biggest problem is that it tends to act rather erratically - some wines might exhibit it upon opening a bottle and then having it disappear as the wine breathes and opens, while other might be clean from the get-go and develop that metallic tone after a little while. However, a great majority of the Heredia wines never show that metallic note at all, which is great.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#13 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 20th, 2019, 2:25 am

Oh and I had that 2006 Tondonia Reserva a few weeks ago and while it did show that subtly metallic tone, it was nevertheless a beautiful Rioja. Not the best vintage of Tondonia Reserva, but a lovely effort all the same.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#14 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 20th, 2019, 3:46 am

FWIW, I ordered some more.

Thanks for the information, Otto. It’s what I suspected on the new oak but did not know the numbers.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#15 Post by Claus Jeppesen » June 20th, 2019, 3:54 am

Had the 1994 GR recently (again). It really shines in all its modesty. Brilliant wine
Also a few months ago the 2001 Reserva from magnum. It is slowly starting to climb the plateau. Also my non-geek friends liked it a lot
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#16 Post by PhillipDube » June 20th, 2019, 8:20 am

I toured LdH recently (quite trippy and highly recommended) and was informed that all newly coopered barrels are "seasoned" by aging press wine for a couple years that is later sold off on the bulk market. So technically all the LdH wines are 0% new oak.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#17 Post by Jayson Cohen » June 20th, 2019, 9:03 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
June 20th, 2019, 3:46 am
FWIW, I ordered some more.

Thanks for the information, Otto. It’s what I suspected on the new oak but did not know the numbers.
There is no new oak in Tondonia Reserva. (I was there on Monday.) Primary fermentation is in massive wood tanks over 100 years old.

All barrels for aging after tank are thoroughly conditioned before use typically using the tank remains after the transfer process and if I am remembering correctly, I believe they also use must, whatever wine/sediment remains in the barrels after racking, and wine that is never bottled to condition the barrels. At least a year for each barrel. There is also no toasting of new barrels. The aim is a neutral American oak vessel that can breathe.

Some pics here:



I had the ‘06 (still the current release) Monday evening at dinner. It’s very nice but not quite at the level of ‘04 and ‘05 in my view, which should still be around at retail.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#18 Post by Jayson Cohen » June 20th, 2019, 9:06 am

PhillipDube wrote:
June 20th, 2019, 8:20 am
I toured LdH recently (quite trippy and highly recommended) and was informed that all newly coopered barrels are "seasoned" by aging press wine for a couple years that is later sold off on the bulk market. So technically all the LdH wines are 0% new oak.
I posted before I saw your comments. Right. Consistent with what I heard. Amazing cellars!

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#19 Post by Mike Grammer » June 20th, 2019, 10:05 am

Had the 1994 once---it was absolutely superb.

Not had the 06, but it points to the consistently high quality of the wine that it showed so well for you Bob. My notes on the 2005 from a couple months ago:

2005 Vina Tondonia Rioja Reserva

Should come as no surprise that I elected to give this the same amount of decanting as the Brunello Riserva (sic--full 8 hours). This has plenty of promise, with some cedary and light anise aromatics and tastes around dark, dark cherry and blackberry. It was just starting to unfurl at dinner about 9 hours later. I knew I'd opened this too soon (it was as much to make room in my "mini-cellar" which Berto has been generous enough to provide me), and at least 6 years would be all to the good here. BUT---I think it may rival or even surpass the 04 in that time.


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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#20 Post by John Kight » June 20th, 2019, 11:49 am

NoahR wrote:
June 19th, 2019, 5:42 pm

The American Oak never quite fades. Did a tasting of 1964-1980 Imperial vs Viña Real and it sticks out like a sore thumb even in the 64 and 66. Monte Bello is the same way. St least I like it as it mellows.
I agree that while some oak character (vanillin, coconut, richness, texture, etc.) might diminish, the "dill pickle" aspect never fades. In fact, as the wine itself begins to soften/fade, the "dill pickle" characteristic of American oak seems to only become more prominent relative to the fruit, tannin, etc.

Ultimately, this is something that makes Rioja unique (and is in fact a traditional/historical characteristic of Rioja, not something related to modernist techniques, over-oaking, etc.). Maybe it's pure rationalization, but I try to keep that in mind when I'm trying to get past my initial reaction to many of these wines (young and old), and most often, after the distraction of the first half-glass or so, I am able to get over the distraction of the oak and ultimately enjoy these wines thoroughly. Can't quite decide whether I'm ultimately enjoying the wine with the oak, or enjoying the wine despite the oak, but I feel like it's the former....

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#21 Post by Jayson Cohen » June 20th, 2019, 12:49 pm

I don’t get this dill-pickle character from old Viña Real (1991 and earlier) or from any Lopez de Heredia wines. And I find Imperial absorbs oak well over time. Maybe different sensitivity to this aspect? But for example I find this oak-character in most La Rioja Alta wines except maybe certain ones, like the 1973 Cuvée Centenario, which seems to have gotten the best barrels that year.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#22 Post by Neal.Mollen » June 20th, 2019, 12:58 pm

envoyer had the 06 Tondonia in 375s for a stupid low price some time ago and I went big. Glad I did. A perfect, perfect glass-or-two-alone wine
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#23 Post by Eric Lundblad » June 20th, 2019, 2:13 pm

Jayson Cohen wrote:
June 20th, 2019, 12:49 pm
I don’t get this dill-pickle character from old Viña Real (1991 and earlier) or from any Lopez de Heredia wines. And I find Imperial absorbs oak well over time. Maybe different sensitivity to this aspect? But for example I find this oak-character in most La Rioja Alta wines except maybe certain ones, like the 1973 Cuvée Centenario, which seems to have gotten the best barrels that year.
CVNE uses a mix of french and american oak on the Imperial, and I assume on the Viña Real as well...so that would reduce/eliminate the dill quality there. La Rioja Alta is all american.
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#24 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » June 20th, 2019, 2:16 pm

La Rioja Alta 904 is like drinking out of a Claussen jar. Too bad, the materials are so good. I struggle with this wine. I have loved it and hated it.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#25 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 28th, 2019, 4:53 pm

Been on a trip and off the board. During the trip I paid $24 for a glass of this, it was with cheese at the end of a meal. By L-H standards, this is not much of a vintage, but it is excellent wine and was an absolutely perfect match with the cheese. Didn't take a full note, but remember that it was very young, although very well balanced. Was there a note of that American oak dill? Yes. Was it subdued and integrated? Yes. Is this one of the world's very great wineries? Yes.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#26 Post by Jayson Cohen » June 28th, 2019, 5:26 pm

Dan Kravitz wrote:
June 28th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Been on a trip and off the board. During the trip I paid $24 for a glass of this, it was with cheese at the end of a meal. By L-H standards, this is not much of a vintage, but it is excellent wine and was an absolutely perfect match with the cheese. Didn't take a full note, but remember that it was very young, although very well balanced. Was there a note of that American oak dill? Yes. Was it subdued and integrated? Yes. Is this one of the world's very great wineries? Yes.

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It was 14 Euro by half bottle in a restaurant in Haro last week. And I think something like 22 for a full bottle at the domain. You must have been some place fancy. Or here in New York where everyone gouges.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#27 Post by Dan Kravitz » June 28th, 2019, 6:20 pm

I was in some place fancy. Canlis, Seattle. For that food and that setting, worth every penny.

Comparing prices in Spain to prices in the U.S. is apples and oranges.

FWIW, it was the 3rd glass that I split with my guest and the most expensive. No regrets. We got what we paid for.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#28 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 10th, 2019, 5:18 pm

Popped another after a disappointing 2016 Chateau Beaumont. This Tondonia rocks. Love the citrus acids, red and dried fruits, and range of tobacco, spice and herbs. Has a semi-exotic quality to it. Really excellent.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#29 Post by DanielP » September 12th, 2019, 6:21 am

I'm surprised you don't drink more of this - I would think the old school style and occasional funk would suit you. My only quibble with these wines is the bottle variation, but I think a lot of that can be attributed to how long they wait before release.

Im also a huge fan of LRA but I think I'm less dill-sensitive, and I'll probably pick up a bottle of 2010 ardanza and 904 this weekend to decide if I should load up. Lot of hype regarding the 2010s
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#30 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 12th, 2019, 6:35 am

Agreed.

Your point is identical to the Musar question that was just posed to me, and goes to show how incredibly personal our palates our. Like Musar, on paper, I should be a fan of traditional Rioja. The problem is, American oak just does not jive with my palate. LdH seems to handle it better than most, but it is still present in the note. So while I like it, and very much - and of course will drink it from time to time - these are not wines that I stock up on like my tried and true favorites. Perhaps my palate changes over time, but the good news is, these wines are really not expensive, so always easy to pick them up.

About 2010, I’ve seen a lot of buzz over this vintage, and even Rioja Alta released some special Ardanza that I think they’ve only done like 4-5 times, but I chuckle when I see a “special release” of 50,000 cases (600,000 bottles). Zachy’s has it for $33.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#31 Post by DanielP » September 12th, 2019, 7:08 am

Yeah makes sense. Though it could be worth a gander at the GR.

The good news is that it's exactly the same price as the past few vintages, which is usually my gripe when it comes to these specially labeled bottles. So no complaints here. 904 has taken a bit of a jump though. I should've loaded up on 2004 when it was $40.

I recall hearing from a rep a year or so ago that they made less 2010 904 in the midst of the burning embers of the global economic crisis, as the demand outlook appeared poor, and that the extra juice went into the alberdi, which is why that was such a good wine. But, every review by Luis Gutierrez suggests that they make 150,000 bottles every year, so I don't know if I was being bullshitted. Then again, do they really make the exact same number of bottles every vintage?

PJ's is my local go to for Rioja - 28 bucks for the Ardanza, and they run the occasional sale too
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#32 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » September 12th, 2019, 7:29 am

I'm a fan of all of the lopez wines, but the 06 is pretty underrated. I picked up a bunch of half bottles. They still have full bottles of the 07 (much better vintage) for 32.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#33 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 12th, 2019, 8:04 am

DanielP wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 7:08 am
Yeah makes sense. Though it could be worth a gander at the GR.

The good news is that it's exactly the same price as the past few vintages, which is usually my gripe when it comes to these specially labeled bottles. So no complaints here. 904 has taken a bit of a jump though. I should've loaded up on 2004 when it was $40.

I recall hearing from a rep a year or so ago that they made less 2010 904 in the midst of the burning embers of the global economic crisis, as the demand outlook appeared poor, and that the extra juice went into the alberdi, which is why that was such a good wine. But, every review by Luis Gutierrez suggests that they make 150,000 bottles every year, so I don't know if I was being bullshitted. Then again, do they really make the exact same number of bottles every vintage?

PJ's is my local go to for Rioja - 28 bucks for the Ardanza, and they run the occasional sale too
That Alberdi is delicious, and since it is their cheapy, sees far less new oak, which I prefer.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#34 Post by Kelly Flynn » September 12th, 2019, 10:56 am

Just now catching this. The 2010 Ardanza at $33 is beyond stupid. I'm just about to pull the trigger myself. Just not sure when to open it. Had the 2005 "regular" reserva last weekend with duck, and it was heavenly.

Lopez is probably my gold standard, though it does take time. If the 94 GR a few months back was infantile (albeit in a way that makes infanticide seem right), the 06 Reserva must be downright fetal.

Unfortunately, older Lopez gets quite expensive, quickly.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#35 Post by dvansteenderen » September 12th, 2019, 1:30 pm

I also agree that the 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia is drinking fine right now! Also from Magnum I can confirm [cheers.gif]
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#36 Post by Marshall Gelb » September 13th, 2019, 2:06 pm

For me, year in and year out, one of the premier bargains in the wine world. They age them for over ten years before release and price the wines modestly. The oak treatment is not overpowering and is usually quite integrated by release time. In addition, they age forever.
It is a wine to buy annually.

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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#37 Post by M Mager » September 13th, 2019, 3:04 pm

Kelly Flynn wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 10:56 am
Lopez is probably my gold standard, though it does take time. If the 94 GR a few months back was infantile (albeit in a way that makes infanticide seem right), the 06 Reserva must be downright fetal.
I agree completely on the GRs. In my opinion, all three of the red GRs released from '90s vintages (91, 94, & 95) are at least a decade out (and probably much more) from being anywhere close to coming into their sweet spot. For the Tondonia GR, I think the '85 is in a really good place - and may be one of the less longer aging vintages (though it's all relative). For the Bosconia, I think it's the '78 - as I'm convinced the '81 will age the same as other almost immortal vintages such as '64 and '47.

I do find the Reservas tend to be a bit more drinkable on release; however, also believe that most folks also vastly underrate the again curves on them. While my experience with the Reservas doesn't go back near as far as with the GRs, I have yet to taste one that struck me as anywhere near peak yet.
Kelly Flynn wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 10:56 am
Unfortunately, older Lopez gets quite expensive, quickly.
Unfortunately (well, for me...), the world has caught up with what spectacular wines the RLdH GRs are (red and white). Back in the mid/late-2000s, they did a number of GR library releases - and prices that were incredibly reasonable. I stretched to go as deep as I could at that time; however, in retrospect, I wish I would have stretched further! Oh, well...

Michael
Michael

Tom G l a s g o w
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Re: TN: 2006 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia

#38 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » September 13th, 2019, 6:41 pm

And let’s not bring up the rosato. Looks to sky emoji

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