Bodegas R. López de Heredia was founded in 1877 by Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta. It’s bodega was built close to the railway station at Haro, in the heart of La Rioja Alta which allowed it access to Bordeaux know how and transportation for both grapes and wines. They embody the classic old school Rioja; oxidative handling, long oak aging and plenty of personality and charm.
Made from mostly Tempranillo with Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. It spent 6 years in American oak. Dark and blue berry fruit, floral notes, ultra savoury spice, hung meats and earth. It has a brilliant mouthfeel that only aged Tempranillo can give and must be experienced. This is a complex wine that was great a few years ago at a bring a bottle night at Mezzo but I think will be still at its peak a few years to come yet.
Top quality grape grown all over the Peninsula (with many pseudonyms). It can be used for Rosado or Joven (released after 6 months) all the way up to Gran Reserva (60 months in the winery). It ages very well and top examples are said to compare to Burgundy. Cherry and cola are typical descriptors, it has moderate to low acid, moderate tannin and the naturally high pH allows for a silky mouthfeel that is not seen in other red wines.
Spain’s gift to the world. We know it as Grenache and I think everyone has a soft spot for it in some way. Almost too exuberant in expressing its sweet red fruits and high alcohol, it often needs a little bit of other wines to add moderation, structure and depth. Much like Abbott and Costello. Despite this the wines of Priorat, Chateauneuf du Pape, Rioja and Aussie GSMs have an amazing ability to age for the long term.
A large and varied region and Spain’s quality flagship. Sub-regions Alta and Alavesa are the high altitude cooler parts that show elegant and almost Burgundian Tempranillo wines. Baja is the low hot lands sub region where Garnacha (Grenache) becomes more important. Producer is the most important determiner of quality as products range from traditional savoury wines to modern silky, pure wines. The whites can be neutral and simple through to pretty and silky affairs.