On the pour: an iconic Rioja


The 2009 vintage of Viña Tondonia stands on a wooden table in our London Shop, against a background of shelves of wine

Each month, we turn the spotlight on a different wine that’s available to taste in our London Shop at 63 Pall Mall. For October, we’ve chosen the 2009 Viña Tondonia from López de Heredia. Ian Campbell from our London Shop tells us more about this iconic Rioja wine.

2009 Viña Tondonia Tinto, López de Heredia, Rioja, Spain

What is it?

A typical vintage of López de Heredia’s Viña Tondonia would be released after 10+ years and still only begin to show the nuance and complexity that their grandest wines display later in their life. The cépage is 70% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha, while the remainder is Mazuelo and Graciano, all from the Tondonia vineyard. The wine is aged for six years in American oak – the traditional vehicle for red Rioja – and racked twice a year using egg whites. This was a very warm vintage – the norm for Spain since 2001 – resulting in some toasted character on the nose and palate. Because of this, the vintage is powerful, relatively tannic, ripe and concentrated. Although young, the wine is fully ready to drink with firm tannins and good balance.

What’s the story behind it?

From their beautiful bodega in Haro, La Rioja, all of López de Heredia’s bottlings would qualify as Gran Reserva wines in the traditional “Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva” classification (this indicates a wine’s combined minimum age in barrel and bottle). However, López de Heredia have chosen to adapt the classification to create grades in their own range, with the Gran Reserva nomenclature being used for wines the producer considers exceptional vintages. Their top red and white wines, as well as their rosado, are all sourced from grapes grown in the estate-owned Tondonia vineyard – beautiful, with over 100 hectares – in the Rioja heartland on the right bank of the River Ebro.

What should I drink it with?

It would be perfect alongside a rack of lamb with rosemary roast potatoes and balsamic onions.

Discover the 2009 Viña Tondonia here.