TN- 1998 Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Reserva Blanco

A fascinating wine. I was a little worried that it was over the hill when I first opened it, but it really freshened up with 30 mins in the glass.

This is my first aged White Rioja, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. So I was very surprised when my first instinct upon smelling it was aged German Riesling; it had that petrol character and yellow fruits of Riesling. But there was also a nuttiness that distinguished it as something different. Aromas of petrol, red apple, pear, pineapple, limes, almonds, mixed nuts- this is a wild nose!

Bone dry in the mouth. Acid is medium high. Body is medium. Tastes like lime juice, bruised orchard fruits, yellow peaches, all wrapped in a distinct nuttiness that is kind of like Fino Sherry. It’s interesting, there is this off-note that I associate with white wine that is just too old for its own good, that comes and goes. I’ve never experienced this before. One minute, “this would have been better 5 years ago”, the next minute “fresh as a daisy”. And this went back and forth over three days! No idea what to make of it.

But all in all, a great experience. I need to get more White Rioja!


This one is still a baby. Great wine.

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Singular wines. Love 'em. Great note. Check in again in 10 years.

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Spot on tasting note for this wine (and the LdH blanco experience).

I absolutely love these wines. It’s too bad they’ve gotten so scarce. There’s nothing like them.


I was thinking the same thing while reading the OP, and the aged Riesling similarity hit me when I first smelled these as well.

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I remember opening a bottle ~15 years ago (don’t remember the vintage) and thinking it was DOA when I sniffed it at first. It seemed badly madeirized. But, lo and behold, like your bottle, it freshened up. It seems like faux oxidation. I’ve occasionally encountered it in other wines, but never with such intensity as in the LdH blanco.

I read somewhere once that some mercaptans can be perceived like the compounds formed in oxidation, but the mercaptans can blow off. I have to guess that’s what’s going on in cases like this.

I opened a 2005 of this wine a month ago or so, and it was really superb. Maybe early part of a long prime window.

It had all those interesting and sometimes quirky nuances of white Rioja, but it also had great fruit and was easy for even the non geek types to love.

The one reminder about these is don’t drink them too cold. 55-60 degrees shows them the best.


One of my favorite sayings…

Made in an oxidative, not oxidized, style…