I was lucky enough to interview Maria-Jose Lopez de Heredia of R. Lopez de Heredia of Rioja, Spain yesterday when she was in town visiting Lorac. We sampled whites and reds, some upwards of 20 years old. Flavourful, rich, expansive, both the red and the white wines were superb. R. Lopez de Heredia has been making wine for over 130 years. What is even more amazing is that the winery has been operated by members of the same family through the generations. The consistency is truly evident in the wine. These wines are a great example of what terroir is all about.
Maria-Jose explained that as children, she and her siblings would spend hours out in the vineyards, in the wine-making facility and the cellars every day learning about the process from her father and grandfather. While some wine-making families lose touch with the day-to-day operations, Maria-Jose’s continues to expect each subsequent generation to dig in and get their hands dirty. Despite modern conveniences, R. Lopez de Heredia insists on using many of the same wine-making techniques and machines used by the founder, Maria-Jose’s great-grandfather, Rafael.
I had the chance to film this interview with Maria-Jose, so look for the whole story here in December. Lots more about R. Lopez de Heredia and its philosophy, wines and techniques will be revealed. In the meantime, let me tempt your palates with a description of two of my favourite wines.
Viña Tondonia Gran Reseva Rosado 2000 ($30.75)
This wine is unlike any rosé you’ve seen before. Then again, there aren’t too many aged rosés on the market. Made from Tempranillo, Garnacho and Viura, it’s a lovely tawny colour with aromas of fresh strawberries.
Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva Tinto 1991 ($164.40)
Made with Tempranillo, Garnacho, Mazuelo and Graciano, it’s bright red with aromas of vanilla and berries.