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2010 Rioja, Viña Tondonia Reserva : One of the great vintages from an outstanding estate

March 2022

2010 Rioja, Viña Tondonia Reserva, López de Heredia

One of the great vintages from an outstanding estate

£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

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The 2010 vintage in Rioja 'is by pretty much universal agreement a great, ageworthy vintage of balance, seriously structured wine' - so wrote Josh Raynolds back in 2015 for His comment is backed up by the decision of the official Rioja Control Board (Consejo Regulador) to officially rate 2010 as 'Excellent' - an accolade awarded only in the best vintages.

I recently had the chance to taste the latest Tondonia releases from López de Heredia, the highlight of which was undoubtedly the outstanding 2010 Rioja, Viña Tondonia Reserva, offered here at £150 per 6 bottle case in bond. Since Simon offered the 2009 last year, we have been anticipating the release of the 2010 as, on paper, it should be a standout for the estate. Our initial assumption was certainly borne out by my tasting.
Widely considered one of the finest vintages in the last two decades, 2010 was characterised by a dry growing season, reducing yields and leading to wines of ample structure and concentration, but a cooler than average June allowed for acidity in the grapes to be retained. It is that striking combination of richness and freshness that renders the 2010 Viña Tondonia so impressive and ensures it will age over the long-term.
López de Heredia is one of the most traditional of all Rioja producers – little has changed here since the estate was founded in 1913. It possesses a reputation for producing complex wines that invariably have the capacity age over the long-term. The estate is extensive with 170 hectares of vineyard and 124 currently in production. Then again, the range of wines is also extensive – they produce 9 different wines in most years across all levels, including some great white and rosé Gran Reserva. The Tondonia vineyard must be the most famous that they own, comprising 100 hectares in Haro, next to the River Ebro, where the area of Rioja Alta borders Rioja Alavesa. The vineyard lies in a shell-like depression on a soil of alluvial clay with a high proportion of limestone.
A Reserva Rioja is aged for a minimum of three years with at least one year in oak barrels and six months in bottle before release. Many traditional, quality conscious estates go far beyond – for example, Viña Tondonia Reserva is aged for six years in barrel! Rioja is changing and not all estates and winemakers adhere the traditional ageing model. There is no denying that this has breathed new life into the region, but it is hard not to hanker for those complex, aged Rioja such as Viña Tondonia.
Major critics are yet to review the new Tondonia releases, so please find my tasting note below. Let's just say I am very confident in my assessment - this is a wine you shouldn't miss.

2010 Rioja, Viña Tondonia Reserva, López de Heredia
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond
The nose of the 2010 Reserva is expressive, with notes of crushed rose petals, fig and dried cherry accompanied by a subtle hint of vanilla. There is a vibrancy to the fruit on the palate; juicy red berries to the fore, notes of incense and sweet spice, tobacco, and a slight smokiness. With silky smooth tannins, the 2010 Reserva glides over the palate effortlessly with a touch more refinement than some recent Tondonia releases, but the same graceful expression. The floral, juicy, slightly mineral finish resonates long after tasting. A stunning Reserva that, whilst incredibly attractive now, will continue to evolve in complexity over years to come. (LH) Drink 2023-2035+.

There is no denying that this offers incredible value given the lofty quality and extended ageing. If you, like us, enjoy traditional styles of Rioja such as this, you really should take note.

Please let us know of your interest.

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

Atlas House, 1 King Street
London, EC2V 8AU
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
F: +44 (0) 20 3017 2290