It’s hard to share a bottle of López de Heredia. Firstly, I would be quite happy to keep it all to myself. So, selfishness ranks high. But the other reason is that it’s often hard to find someone to drink it with who actually gets what this wine is all about.
Let’s be honest, this is wacky, textured stuff and challenging for an unadventurous palate.
I’ve enjoyed several of these – reds, whites and rosés – all made by the same family that has owned this bodega since 1877. Each review is searchable on the right hand side of this blog page by punching in López de Heredia.
These are unique wines – the current owners, the fourth generation, maintain most of the same practices established by their great grandparents. They own every inch of every vineyard where their grapes are grown, only use indigenous yeasts, don’t filter their wines, age them for 6-8 years prior to release, and even make their own barrels.
These practices have made them a benchmark winery – and their wines are sought after from around the world. They’re certainly on my wine bucket list – and one day, I will go there. But for now, I found some winos willing to try this with me; I’ll make do with drinking them on this side of the ocean.
This is a white Rioja made with 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia grapes from the Tondonia vineyard. On the eyes, it’s medium gold with strong legs and sherry-like aromas showing super ripe, yellow, just-picked-in-the-orchard apples. Honey, brine, wool and mandarin oil are all present.
The palate is dry with a beautifully medium body, juicy acidity and flavours of compost-ready apples, dried apricot, more honey and beeswax. Lightly bitter almonds show at the back of the palate alongside significant sherry-like brine.
The finish is enormously long – we clocked it in at 20, 26 and 31 seconds – on this complex and layered concoction.