Lopez de Heredia
R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia is a Rioja producer that is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest wine estates. It was founded in 1877, and is well known for its traditional approach. It is particularly associated with its Tempranillo-based wines from the Tondonia vineyard, to the extent that this now forms part of the company name. R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia is also well known for its traditionally styled white Rioja wines.
The Tondonia vineyard extends for over 100 hectares (250 acres) in a picturesque site next to the Ebro river. The soil is made up of alluvial clay with a high limestone content, which has proved an excellent terroir for the Tempranillo and Garnacha vines that are planted there. Tondonia provides the grapes for López de Heredia's top wines, both red and white.
The dry, vanilla-laden López de Heredia Gran Reserva is predominantly Tempranillo with small amounts of Garnacha and Mazuelo, and sees ten years aging in barrel before release. The Reserva, which adds a little Graciano to the blend, only receives six years. The two nutty, perfumed Viña Tondonia white wines – a Gran Reserva and a Reserva – have the same respective time in oak as the red wines, and are made from Viura with a small amount of Malvasia. The fifth wine from Tondonia is the extremely unusual Gran Reserva Rosado, which is one of the few rosés in the world released after such long aging (four and a half years) in barrel.
R. López de Heredia owns three other vineyards in the Rioja Alta region: Viñas Cubillo, Bosconia and Zaconia. The first two make single-vineyard red wines, while the Zaconia vineyard is planted with white varieties and previously supplied dry wines under that banner, and dessert wines labelled Sauternia. Nowadays, it is the source of the Viña Gravonia oak-aged white made from Viura.
The sprawling winery complex neighbouring La Rioja Alta in the centre of Haro is the oldest in the town, and one of the first wineries in the entire region. Wines are made in a range of old oak vats of varying size and wood origin, and aged in a famous network of dark, mouldy cellars with evocative names such as El Cemeterio and La Dolorosa.