2003 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja
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.
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)
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)
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)
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)