Region: Rioja Alta, Spain
Varietal: 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho and 5% each Mazuelo and Graciano
Tasting Notes: Vibrant red color leading slightly towards amber. Light fresh aromas with notes of vanilla, ripe red berries, cedar, and dried flower. Bright, bone-dry, smooth, but firm tannins leading to a lengthy well balanced finish.
Pairing: Hard sheeps milk cheeses like Manchego, roast game birds such as pheasant and partridge, Dishes with saffron such as paella or Moroccan tagines - including, surprisingly, chicken with preserved lemon and olives and Mediterranean-style fish stews, many pork dishes especially cooked Spanish style with beans, almost any kind of lamb dish from roast lamb to tender lamb cutlets to slow braised lamb shanks or even a Shepherds pie, Lancashire hotpot, merguez, moussaka . . . It’s hard to think of a lamb dish that doesn’t work with rioja. This Lamb Tagine by Melissa Clark went perfectly with my bottle. It takes some time, but is worth the wait!
About: R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia is a Rioja producer that is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest wine estates. It was founded in 1877, and is well known for its traditional winemaking approach. It is particularly associated with its Tempranillo-based wines from the Tondonia vineyard, to the extent that this now forms part of the company name.
The Tondonia vineyard extends for over 100 hectares (250 acres) in a picturesque site next to the Ebro river. The soil is made up of alluvial clay with a high limestone content, which has proved an excellent terroir for the Tempranillo and Garnacha vines that are planted there. Tondonia provides the grapes for López de Heredia's top wines, both red and white.
The flagship wine from the company is the dry, vanilla-laden López de Heredia Gran Reserva. It is predominantly Tempranillo with small amounts of Garnacha and Mazuelo, and sees ten years aging in barrel before release. The Reserva, which adds a little Graciano to the blend, only receives six years.
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