Lopez de Heredia – Rioja
Founded in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, Snr López established the legendary Tondonia vineyards on the alluvial slopes overlooking the River Ebro on the cusp of the Alta and Alavesa wine sub-regions. A visionary and a romantic, his aspirations were impressive – not just for his wines but architecturally as well. His family continue his legacy and spirit led by sisters Maria Jose & Mercedes and this is without question one of the great wineries not only of Spain but of the world.
The Lopez de Heredia portfolio extends over four autonomous vineyard areas, of which Tondonia is both the largest and the most famous. The other three are Cubillo, Bosconia and Gravonia; each with distinctive terroir and aspect and differing grape composition and styles of wine. The estate has 170 hectares of vineyards with 124 in production.
Wines are fermented in old wooden casks, often centenarian, and aged for a long period (as they always have been) including some years in one of the 14,000 + barrels in the labyrinth of cellars (over 6,000 square feet) under the winery that span out towards the banks of the Ebro River. Only American oak is used but as the winery has its own cooperage they purchase whole trees to split and age outside before making into barrels that are repaired and tended over their long lifespan. These neutral barrels impart minimal new oak flavours into their wines – essential when aging profiles much exceed the minimum span required. The most traditional of all wineries, their heritage and stability of process, people and supreme quality are a hallmark of each of their wines.