TNs: A couple new renditions of old favorites, wowsers! 2010 LdH Tondonia Riserva, NV Charles Heidseick Brut Reserve

Over the past couple days I popped a few corks at home. Really quite blown away by this new releases of some old favourites.

The Charles Heidseick is a wine I’ve had many bottles of over the past decade, but in the past several years I have gravitated toward exploring the many growers now available. That exploration has been a mix of disappointments and pleasant surprises. But for someone like me who really has a soft spot for a rich style showing toffee and autolytic character, the Heidseick is hard to beat. I had never really thought of it as a baby krug, but this bottle really came across to me that way, and is of an overall quality that is higher than what I remember. Dosage is perhaps a little high for some, especially if you’re used to these grower bottles that tend to come in a little lower, but I need to buy some more!

Similar story with the Tondonia, I think I’ve had multiple bottles of every vintage 2004 - 2010, and this 2010 really spoke to me in a way that I can’t recall other recent vintages doing. Super elegant, almost Burgundian, yet with an inner rich core of fruit, with the least overt American Oak I can remember from this cuvée. Definitely my style.

  • NV Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Réserve - France, Champagne (3/18/2023)
    Has this gotten better over the years? I've always loved it, but this bottle is the best I can recall having. It pours pale gold in the glass with moderate effervescence. The nose is high complexity, moderately intense, and very much in the rich style. Aromas are of lemon custard, pastry cream, toffee, pastry dough, candied lemon peel, marzipan, apple blossom, caramel apple, and cardamom. The palate again is quite richly styled, dosage comes across a tad higher than some may prefer, my guess would fall 8 - 10 g/l, but the acid is high and precise lending the palate tremendous balance. The Finish is long, rich and harmonious. This is a cuvée I've had many times over the past 10 of so years. Always consistently in my wheelhouse, I can never recall a bottle I didn't love. More recently I've explored a lot of grower bubbles, but coming back to this I'm blown away. Better than I can ever remember one of these showing. Unabashedly rich, this one is for the lovers of houses like Krug and Bolly. In fact I'm impressed how this brings some of the elements I love in Krug at a much more approachable pricepoint. The back label shows this was put in their cellars in 2018 and disgorged in 2022. Need to remember to get more. (94 points)
  • 2010 R. López de Heredia Rioja Reserva Viña Tondonia - Spain, La Rioja, La Rioja Alta, Rioja (3/16/2023)
    This pours medium to light garnet in the glass with light bricking. The nose is very suave and seductive, featuring seamless layers of complexity and fruit. Moderately intense and high complexity. Aromas are of dried cherry, dried strawberry, dried orange peel, animal fur, dried rose petals, fire pit, stony soil, sweet cedar, dried ginger powder, and a vague whisp of toasted coconut. The palate enters on the bright dried cherry and strawberry turning to high orange tinged acid and medium minus tannin. This shows the telltale high LdH acidity, but is very balanced especially compared to other recent vintages. The finish is long replaying just about everything on the nose. Overall I'm quite blown away by this wine. Easily my favourite vintage of Tondonia Riserva since I began tasting them on release with the 2004 vintage. The complexity, balance and profile here is just lovely, and I expect this to age flawlessly. This confirms for me that 2010 is a very special vintage for Rioja. (94 points)

So funny, just had this. And I almost never drink Spanish wine. It’s that anti-MAGA oak thing I have. But my mom made my wife and I a traditional Cuban dinner, and I felt inclined to bring a Spanish wine. This was the only Spanish wine of note that this retailer has.

Blown away I am.

I won’t even try to leave a note. Chris’ note is 10x more articulate than I can manage. So on point. The AO is totally in the background. The citrus notes are off the charts. So fresh. Blood orange and rind blended so harmoniously with darker and plummy fruits. Tobacco and leather. Chalky sweet tannins. Best since 2001.

(94 pts.)

Am square and can use cool-speak enlightenment here. What’s “anti-MAGA” about Spanish wine ?


Just bad word play and bad joke, I do not like American oak.

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My track record with LdH is spotty — some utterly divine bottles, some that show too acetic-saison-sour almost to the point of undrinkable — but I’ve never really found that the oak pokes out at this bodega, especially for a rioja.

By chance, I just ordered a 375 of this, so I’ll check in on it myself!

You don’t want to opine on how the LdH compares to Lafite, Leroy and DRC like a certain other taster over on CT? :laughing:

If it was pure quality and experience at issue, I’d take certain vintages of Tondonia and Bosconia Gran Reserva over those. Don’t know why you infer it’s far-fetched, @Cris_Whetstone.

Recent comment were on Reserva vintages.

I’d pass on 2010 in favor of 2008 still available if choosing.

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It was a joke about the recent blow up thread under someone’s note about the '10 Tondonia Reserva. The poster goes on a rant about Spanish wines and how they do not measure up to the most expensive wines. You can look on CT. He deleted his original note so that no one can be seen questioning him. He reposted it with the comments turned off.

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Haven’t tried the 2010 yet but are visiting there in May.

This was a spontaneous buy for me yesterday, but the retailer had 08 and 10. I’m embarrassed to admit that I bought the 2010 over the 2008 because of the Suckling note/score that the retailer posted while the 08 was silent. Figured at least my Dad would like it. Well I did as well!

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I’m with you on the Heidseick Brut Reserve. I know all the cool kids are chasing grower and vintage cuvées, but I prefer these wines with some dosage there to even things out and harmonize/highlight all the elements.

Like you, I’ve had mixed experience with the grower champagnes, especially on the gum-searing high acid end of the low/no dosage spectrum where there is nowhere to hide if the balance is off.

Meanwhile here is this bodacious NV bottling you so well describe, that hits all those pleasure notes and is findable in 6-packs at a very reasonable price. Heisseick NV has become our go-to house bubbly ever since Ruinart’s unfortunate repackaging (and price rise) on their tasty NV blanc de blanc. The Ruinart is still great and I still buy it, but not 12 at a time anymore…

The current version of the NV Heidseick in the US was laid down in 18’ and disgorged in 22’ but you may well see last year’s around as well, laid down in 17’ and disgorged in 20’

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