2003 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja

SKU #1226445 95 points James Suckling

 Ripe aromas of dried fruits, plums and prunes. Flowers too. Full body, round and ripe textured tannins. Intense and powerful fruit. Layered. Powerful style. Very long. Richer than normal due to the the hot growing seasons of 2003. Aged for six years in old American oak barrels. Drink or hold.  (7/2015)

92 points Vinous

 Bright ruby-red. Ripe cherry, vanilla and floral pastilles on the smoky, oak-spiced nose. Sweet and supple on the palate, offering pliant red fruit and spicecake flavors with suave mocha and vanilla bean nuances. Quite lively and fresh for a wine from a hot vintage, and showing no excess fat. Finishes sweet, toasty and very long, with smooth tannins making a late appearance. (JR)  (11/2015)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 If this old-school winery has a signature wine, it's Tondonia. Hailing from the hot 2003 vintage, this smells rooty, with tobacco, cedar and subtle balsamic notes that only a few wines share, for instance the occasional Barolo. High acidity is keeping this vital, while flavors of tomato, currant and raspberry come with caramel and chocolate notes. The finish, which is subtle and long, is a highlight. (MS)  (5/2016)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Cigar box, cedar and balsamic notes frame cherry, raisin and licorice flavors in this lean, firm red. Displays grip and focus, with firm tannins and orange peel acidity. The spicy finish is fresh and long. A traditional style. Drink now through 2023. (TM)  (9/2015)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 From one of the warmest summers in recent history, the 2003 Viña Tondonia Reserva might not show that much heat as María José López de Heredia, this is a Viña Tondonia 6º año, a wine matured for six years and always a blend of grape varieties and vintages. It is legally possible to have up to 15% of wine from a different vintage as the one shown on the label. She says their wines do not vary that much from vintage to vintage because of this. The house blend is around 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho (notice the masculine use of Garnacha), 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo fermented in old (up to 140 years old) oak vats with natural yeasts ("we have never added any yeasts" was her answer). The wine has a canonical 12.5% alcohol and 6.5 grams of acidity. It matured in (used) barrels for six years and was bottled unfiltered. Even if they want to avoid the imprint from the vintage, it's impossible to erase the effect of the torrid 2003. The wine is less Tondonia than the 2004, and the fruit is more obvious and forward. The palate is fuller than your average vintage, juicy and ripe. An approachable Tondonia Reserva to drink on the younger side. (LG)  (4/2015)

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By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 12/2/2015 | Send Email
A lovely, mouth-wateringly delicious Tondonia, this wine still manages to epitomize the traditional, grand old Rioja style, even in a vintage with the drought and heat stress of 2003. Great, mature vines are the secret, as well as skillfully fermenting and ageing in a time honored tradition (hint: very well seasoned American oak vats and barrels are involved). Another instant classic from LdH.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Tempranillo

- A very important red grape varietal that's native to Northern Spain, grown across the north and central regions of the country. Low in acid and alcohol, with subtle strawberry, leather and tobacco notes, the grape responds well to oak aging and plays particularly well with others. Tempranillo is an important component, when combined with Garnacha, Mazuelo, Viura and Graciano, of Rioja, with the best examples coming for the cooler, higher-elevation regions like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. It is also grown in significant quantities in the Ribera del Duero where it is called Tinto Fino and Penèdes where it is called Ull de Llebre o Ojo de Llebre. Tempranillo hasn't gained a particularly strong foothold outside of Spain, achieving some success under the name Tinto Roriz in Portugal. There it is used as a component of Port and in the table wines of the Ribera del Duero and the Dão.
Country:

Spain

- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.
Sub-Region:

Rioja

Alcohol Content (%): 12.5