It’s only March and I believe I may have already tasted what will be my most favorite wine of 2012.  It was a bottle of Viña Tondonia from 1970 , and it was magical.  If you know me, you know I am absolutely fascinated by the wines of Lopez de Heredia.  These curiously long-ageing Riojas with their impenetrable acidity and complex aromatics just enchant me.

These are the wines that protect the world from boring, industrial swill.  In the sea of the Unremarkable and Uninspiring, these wines are Beacons of Hope.

This wine was everything you want wine to be.  Mesmerizing- like a veiled dancer- she was slow to reveal all her charms.  A little bit of time in the glass and the initial aromas of white truffle and wet stones gave through to  gorgeous tones of orange peel and citrus blossoms.  At 42 years old this wine still had the acidity of a newly-bottled vintage.   The yellow plum and tart gooseberry flavors were stunning, and simply charged through this wine, defying its age.  There is a weight to all the Lopez de Heredia wines, a gravitas that lures you in, completely beguiles you, and restores your faith in wine.

What to pair with such a wine?  Thankfully a dish prepared by somebody who knows the Lopez de Heredia wines much better than I do.  A simple plate of pan-fried shishito peppers, studded with preserved tuna and anchovies, highlighted by a touch of lemon and laced with crunchy sea salt and a bit of Calabrian pepper.

Two words: Culinary. Genius.

About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine. The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

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7 Responses

    • Joanie Karapetian, Italian Wine Geek

      How sad to think my writing causes you pain… but you know what they say. The pen is mightier than the sword!

      I will have to see what I can do about acquiring another 1970… I haven’t had an issue with corked wines from this winery. Sounds like some very bad luck on your part!

      • The Blissful Adventurer

        I assure you this batch was not luck. 4 or 5 consecutive bottles from a singular wine purchased at different stores and different states indicates something closer to pandemic on the scale of Beaucastel 1989 but perhaps not as gruesome as what hit Altare.
        I was only in metaphorical pain. Your writing actually brings me great joy 🙂

  1. Come Due Maiali

    I love their wine! I remember especially enjoying their 1997 Rose with a Thanksgiving brunch a couple of years back, and I just had the pleasure of drinking a 2005 Cubillo a month ago.

  2. winebycai

    Go girl. These are some of the most outstanding white wines still available for mere mortals to drink. Chances of finding an Huat Brion Blanc 1970? 1:1,750. But this you can still purchase and savour. I wonder if the reader who complained of corked bottles from various states and various purchase dates is storing the wine correctly? I have never had a single corked bottle of Vina Tondonia in all the years that I have tasted the wine

    PS. Italy is spectacular


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