Lopez de Heredia, Viña Tondonia 1970. A moment, of Silence, please.

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.