From: Rioja, Spain
Blend: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo
Taste: This vintage showcases a clear, brilliant ruby hue reminiscent of glistening gemstones. The initial waft offers a subtle nod to licorice, seamlessly blending into the fresher notes of cherry cola, candied rose, and red berries. There's a gentle undercurrent of smokiness, accentuated by spices, promising a layered aromatic experience. The wine's entrance is smooth and fresh, revealing a zesty vibrancy, making it come alive on the palate. Bitter cherry and red currant notes dominate the initial taste, gracefully evolving into sweeter profiles as it traverses the mid-palate. The zesty acidity is refreshing, and it balances the flavors with precision. Intriguing hints of dried oranges, savory plums, and earthy undertones reminiscent of mushrooms and wet leaves add depth and complexity. It culminates in a long, persistent finish marked by a gentle tannic grip of peppery spices and a repeat of its floral notes, ensuring the tasting is both memorable and enticing.
Critical Acclaim: "An earthy, well-aged Rioja with complex aromas of dried oranges, savory dried plums, mushrooms, tobacco and wet leaves. Distinctively zesty with bright, citrusy fruit on the medium-bodied palate, rounded by firm, juicy tannins. Quite a long, outstanding entry-level red from this traditional producer. Very drinkable now, but will also hold.” Awarding 94 points, James Suckling celebrates it as an earthy, well-aged Rioja.
Pairing: The elegance of Viña Cubillo is best experienced when paired with hearty dishes. Think of stewed kidney beans with vegetables and pork or a lamb roast. For those with a penchant for the wild, small game or wild mushrooms make for an exquisite match, as do grilled rib steak, pork tenderloin, and veal cutlets.
Red Bean Stew
By Martha Rose Shulman
About. For well over a century, the López de Heredia family has faithfully stewarded the lands of Rioja Alta. In this dedication, they've honed an almost mystical understanding of the winemaking process. With over 146 years in the industry, the family's commitment to their art, the enduring patience required in the winemaking process, and the aging of their wines stand as a leader in the industry.
This legacy found its roots in the 19th century when the French negociants sought refuge in the Rioja region after phylloxera devastated their vineyards. Here, the founder, Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, embraced the art of winemaking, inspired by these French vintners.
Drawn to the Rioja Alta region, especially Haro, its legendary capital, Don Rafael recognized the beauty of the soil and climate harmonizing to create an environment ideal for producing high-quality wines. This realization led to the birth of the López de Heredia bodega around 1877, proudly standing as Haro's oldest and one of Rioja's pioneering three houses.
Embracing its rich heritage, Bodegas López de Heredia emerges as a rare beacon amongst family-run bodegas under the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja - DOC. For them, tradition isn't merely a word but a dynamic blend of eternal principles and criteria that has adapted over the generations. Their willingness to evolve, flexibility, and unwavering self-reflection fuel their future endeavors, preserving the essence inherited from their ancestors.
Don Rafael established Viña Tondonia in 1913-14. Destined to become the most celebrated product of the bodega, Viña Tondonia spans a picturesque 100 hectares along the Ebro River, embodying the heart of Rioja wines. Viña Cubillas, an equally impressive vineyard just 4 km from the bodega, has its own tale.
Nestled 410 meters above sea level, the soils of Viña Cubillas - the home of Viña Cubillo wines - whisper stories from the tertiary age. A balanced blend of clay and limestone, the land is blessed with vines averaging 40 years of age. It spans 24 hectares, predominantly dedicated to the Tempranillo grape, but also houses Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano parcels. This vineyard's exceptional output justifies its historical "Special Harvest" moniker.
This meticulous process begins with a delicate hand harvest, preserving the integrity of each grape. The subsequent delicate destemming and fermentation cultivate the harmonious interplay between grape and wood, aging in the bodega's impressive 14,000 American oak barrels.
It's said that good wine starts in the vineyard, but it's also in the hands of those who craft it. Handpicked with precision using the "corquete", the grapes from Viña Cubillas are treated with the utmost respect, ensuring that they remain unbroken and free from premature fermentation. Once harvested, these emblematic grapes engage in a symbiotic dance with wood, maturing harmoniously in American oak barrels nestled within the serene environment of López de Heredia's underground cellars.
The 2015 vintage, in particular, boasts 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha Tinta, and 5% each Graciano and Mazuela.
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