This is a note that has been in draft mode for about 6 months now. Not because the wine is bad or anything like that, its just an increadbly hard wine to describe. Reading an article in the NY Times, I thought it was about time to post it. I bought this bottle after coming back from Rioja and visiting López de Heredia and literaly being overwhelmed by how these people make this crazy wine. By all logic is should be well past it by the time it’s released, I mean who has heard of white wine kept in casks for nine and a half years then in bottle for another 13 or so years before its released? The people who make it say the secret is the acid, and you can clearly see that when you taste it. It looks oxidized, but tastes like it could do another 10 years standing on it’s head. It sounds like it should be musty and mouldy, but its fresh and floral.
They also make a load of red wines and age them just as long, or longer in some vintages, but for my tastes, its the white wines that are king here. The reds follow some form of noble decay it seems to me, while the whites are on the up and up, dramatically evolving into these highly polished, aromatic wonders that thrill in so many ways: colour, flavour, and scent. They continue to unwrap themselves from years in the dark while in your glass, a touch of orange rind here, some vanilla there, lillies, then lemon, more white flowers, toffee, and on it goes. I’m told they go with rich white meat dishes and fish in heavy saucese, but you’d have to be crazy to drink this wine with food. It demands respect and there is plenty of depth to explore on its own.
A tasting note defeats the purpose here, this is an experiance wine.. There is nothing else like it the world of wine, so what do you rate it against? Other vintages of the same wine, I’d guess. Pitty I’ve only seen 4 vintages and they are all different, but all great, so I couldn’t call one 93 points or the other 99 points. You could pull hundreds of descriptors out too, a bit boring to read really. Your best bet to get any idea of what this wine is about it to buy a bottle, kick back with a book and a nice big glass and drink it over four or five hours. It’s not a difficult wine to like, but more for your wine geek than for your average punter, so why not drink the bottle yourself?
The thing I really like about these wines is that they are actually inovative, but the inovation was done 100 years ago and processes and method have just stayed the same. The family has held fast to the idea and watched many of the other wine trends pass by, and return in some cases. Single vineyard wines are still uncommon in Rioja, but are seen to be a modern thing. Lopez de Heredia have been doing it for 100 years. There are many modern things going on at the bodega too, but tradition rules.
Source: Toro Wines Price: $180 Closure: Conventional Cork and Wax