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López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva, Rioja 2009

Red Wine from Spain - Rioja
Subtle, authentic, mellow Rioja, which is mahogany in appearance with smoky, leathery flavours and a delicate, textured palate. The 2009 is generous and instantly appealing.
is no longer available
Code: SP16671

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Tempranillo
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Bouquet/flavour marked by oak
  • Now to 2032
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Rioja

Rioja sits shielded in northern Spain between the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Cantabria to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. Both of these rocky ranges play their part in creating a suitable climate for the production of fine wines, shielding the region from cold winds from the Atlantic and hot winds from the Mediterranean.

Rioja is split into three sub-regions, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.

Rioja Alavesa - Bounded in the north by the craggy Sierra de la Cantabria and in the south by the Ebro river, and sitting in the foothills of the former, Rioja Alavesa feels a distinct Atlantic influence on its weather, despite the protection of the mountains. It has twice the rainfall of Rioja Baja to the south-east and enjoys cooler temperatures on average. The classic Rioja mainstay tempranillo is king here and makes up more than 80% of plantings, supported by garnacha, mazuelo (aka carignan elsewhere) and graciano for red wines, and viura, malvasia and...

Rioja sits shielded in northern Spain between the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Cantabria to the north and the Sierra de la Demanda to the south. Both of these rocky ranges play their part in creating a suitable climate for the production of fine wines, shielding the region from cold winds from the Atlantic and hot winds from the Mediterranean.

Rioja is split into three sub-regions, Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta and Rioja Baja.

Rioja Alavesa - Bounded in the north by the craggy Sierra de la Cantabria and in the south by the Ebro river, and sitting in the foothills of the former, Rioja Alavesa feels a distinct Atlantic influence on its weather, despite the protection of the mountains. It has twice the rainfall of Rioja Baja to the south-east and enjoys cooler temperatures on average. The classic Rioja mainstay tempranillo is king here and makes up more than 80% of plantings, supported by garnacha, mazuelo (aka carignan elsewhere) and graciano for red wines, and viura, malvasia and garnacha blanca for whites. Chalk and clay soils proliferate. Generally, the wines of Rioja Alavesa are considered the most finely balanced of Rioja reds.

Rioja Alta - Elegant reds are considered the hallmark of Alta wines. A great chunk of the major producers are based in Rioja Alta, concentrated on the town of Haro. Warmer and a bit drier than Alavesa, it also enjoys slightly hotter, more Mediterranean influenced summers and has a range of clay based soils. The reddish, iron rich clays provide a nurturing home for tempranillo while those bearing a chalkier element support the white viura well. Alluvial soils closer to the river are often home to malvasia for blending in to whites. In this area mazuelo is a regular addition to Rioja blends, providing some tannic sinew and beefing up the colour, and the reds here will often take a more significant underpinning of oak.

Rioja Baja - Most of Rioja Baja is south of the Ebro and further south and east of its neighbouring sub-regions. Summers in Rioja Baja are more often than not very warm and dry, with vineyards at lower elevations than its neighbours. Consequently soils are predominantly silt and other alluvial deposits with little chalk present, and garnacha reigns supreme among the red varieties because of its ability to deal almost effortlessly with the heat. As a rule, reds from Baja are higher in alcohol and less elegant than in Alavesa and Alta, though of course there are always exceptions and particularly so as viticulture and winemaking improves with every passing year.

RIOJA CLASSIFICATIONS AND STYLES EXPLAINED

The official Rioja classification is a guarantee of the amount of ageing a wine has undergone. Usually the best wines receive the longest maturation but this does not guarantee quality, which is why it is just as important to follow producer.

Crianza: Minimum two years (with at least 12 months in barrel)
Reserva: Minimum three years (at least 12 months in barrel)
Gran Reserva: Minimum five years (at least 24 months in barrel)

What can be confusing is that producers use different ageing techniques (for example some might use American oak, others French, others a mix of both) which will influence the style, structure and flavour of the wine. To help you find the style you like we have split the wines into the following designations.

Traditional: Fragrant, silky wines from long ageing in cask (usually American oak) and bottle; ready to drink on release.

Modern-classical: Younger, rounder wines that retain the delicious character of Rioja through cask ageing (often a mix of American and French oak) with the structure to develop in bottle.

Modern: Richer, velvety wines aged for less time in newer (usually) French oak; released earlier and may need keeping.

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Spain Vintage 2009

Average temperatures in Rioja and Ribera del Duero in 2009 were actually higher than for the infamous heatwave year of 2003 and it was warmer than the delightful 2010 vintage. The saving grace was rainfall at pertinent moments, bringing respite to the vines and giving the fruit some timely refreshment. Both Rioja and Ribera therefore enjoyed good vintages with many quality wines made in both, though acidity is a little down. The best show their pedigree but there may be some wines that are a little out of balance.

In Navarra it was a good vintage with later ripening grapes like cabernet doing best amongst the red, though all were good. Whites fared less well.

Catalonia also enjoyed a good vintage despite heat spikes as milder temperatures came along at the end of August and welcome rainfall in September freshened up the vines.

Galicia in the north-west had a truly excellent vintage as their cooler, coastal climate helped to provide cool nights after hot, sunny days.

In the south the...
Average temperatures in Rioja and Ribera del Duero in 2009 were actually higher than for the infamous heatwave year of 2003 and it was warmer than the delightful 2010 vintage. The saving grace was rainfall at pertinent moments, bringing respite to the vines and giving the fruit some timely refreshment. Both Rioja and Ribera therefore enjoyed good vintages with many quality wines made in both, though acidity is a little down. The best show their pedigree but there may be some wines that are a little out of balance.

In Navarra it was a good vintage with later ripening grapes like cabernet doing best amongst the red, though all were good. Whites fared less well.

Catalonia also enjoyed a good vintage despite heat spikes as milder temperatures came along at the end of August and welcome rainfall in September freshened up the vines.

Galicia in the north-west had a truly excellent vintage as their cooler, coastal climate helped to provide cool nights after hot, sunny days.

In the south the vintage was complicated by rains at inopportune moments after the heat of the summer and early pickling was required around Alicante. La Mancha saw an early harvest but despite this alcohol levels were generally high and volumes were down.
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2009 vintage reviews
2008 vintage reviews
2005 vintage reviews

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