Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia S.A. Reserva 1989 (White)

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IMG_3839In my last post I wrote about the excitement of broken expectations – but what of something so strange and unique that expectations are nearly impossible? Well, if you are up for a serious wine geek adventure, then this is the wine for you. It’s so different that Kirk and Matt at Kits Wine Cellars were arguing over whether this could even fairly be called ‘wine’. That debate alone made this a must try and I picked up this crazy white Rioja along with Sean’s purchase of the 1999 Gravonia white – the review of which you can find here.

The bottle I picked up, though, had another 10 years of age on it and was aged 6 years in American oak and 5 years in bottle before it even hit the shelves. This is meant to be served at around 14-16 degrees celsius according to the bottle and was comprised of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia grapes. If you’re wondering what the heck that much age does to a white wine, when you sniff this thing it both confuses and impresses with dried coconut flakes, tree sap, lychee, and a serious oxydized salt/brine edge. The oxydation is not over the top, though, even though it does resemble in many ways a Fino Sherry.

What really blew me away though was that this was a true chameleon of a wine, changing flavours every few minutes in the glass and pairing beautifully with some harder cheeses and, especially, with serano ham. The palate, on different occasions, would offer coconut, toast, some caramel, metal, wood, that unique oxydized brine/sap taste, vanilla, jasmine, nail polish, and who the hell knows what else. In a way, this was kind of like going to the dark side of the moon: I think every white wine I taste after this will have a slightly different sheen to it. It was also impressive that despite the crazy age on this, there was a very solid base of acidity, which is probably what made it even possible to sit this down for so long.

It’s hard to describe a wine like this except to say that it is enigmatic. And, given that, I have to present a strong strong caveat that any rating on this will be very personal. For me? Well, I loved it. This is wine geek territory and it is amazing to get a white wine/sherry hybrid style like this that will pair with foods that almost nothing else will – not to mention that I had not tasted 90% of these flavours in wine before. And, this time, that was a great thing. Kits Wine Cellars has a few other options for both reds and whites from these guys that I’m guessing would be a wine lover’s adventure worth having.

$70 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars


  1. R. López de Heredia: Ready When You Are « Vinicultured: A Wine Blog - [...] wine, and one that is available for about $25.99.  (My fellow legal-wine blogger, Shea, reviews the 1989 Reserva vintage…
  2. Spotlight on Spain: Abel Mendoza Rioja Malvasia 2007 « Just Grapes - [...] the Lopez de Heredia whites (see my review of the 1989 Tondonia Reserva), Abel Mendoza’s Malvasia is clean and…

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