9/15/2023 — Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia … epic offer, mixed packs, and 2008 half bottles!

Offer available through Monday, 9/18/2023, or as inventory lasts.

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Hi everyone –

There are a handful of offers we do during the year that are so special, so unique, and so important to our world of wine that we ask for your full attention. This is one of them.

Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia (often shortened to just “Vina Tondonia,” “Lopez de Heredia,” or “That incredible historic Rioja producer,”) is without any doubt or question, one of the top wineries in the world. They can/could/should charge 4X or 5X more for their wines based on the history, provenance, scores, and availability. But they don’t.

This is a unicorn in the wine world, and if you’re unfamiliar with them, here’s what you need to know.

A short history on Viña Tondonia

From the winery website:

It all started in the middle of the nineteenth century when French negociants visited the Rioja region to find alternative sources of quality grapes to transform into wine, since the phylloxera epidemic had decimated their vineyards.  Our founder, Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic student in the art of wine making, followed closely in their footsteps.

Don Rafael fell in love with the region and especially the area around Haro, the mythical capital of the Rioja Alta region. He observed that there was a magical combination of soil and climate that would offer the perfect environment for producing wine that would eventually become world famous. Around 1877 he began the design and construction of the complex that is today known as the López de Heredia bodega (winery), the oldest in Haro and one of the first three bodegas in the Rioja region.

For over a century our emotions have been rooted in our love and passion for this land and its harvest. We cherish our heritage, and this combination of love and the rigorous quality standards we apply, have become our trademarks and remain our maxim for today and the future.

Bodegas López de Heredia stands out as one of the few family-run bodegas regulated by the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja – DOC (Appellation region).

https://www.lopezdeheredia.com/english/filosofia/filosofia.html

This winery IS the history of Rioja, but even more importantly it’s a time capsule into the past. Nothing has changed at Viña Tondonia. Nothing.

Our incredible visit to the winery

Visits to the cellars of Viña Tondonia are not easy to come by. They have a sign in front of the public tasting room announcing that visits must be pre-arranged and are only open to those in the wine trade (or, as we found out, rich cardiologists from Miami … the only others that were on our tour with us — after arriving late — asking some dumb questions while bragging about what they have in their cellars … *sigh* … at least there were only two of them).

When we were planning our trip, we built our days in Rioja around the possibility of visiting the historic cellars of Vina Tondonia. Everything else was secondary.

They were very clear that we can share photos and videos with friends and family, but also insisted that we don’t publish anything on social media due to people seeing the cellars and overwhelming them with requests to visit. However, there is one video on YouTube that gives you a sense of things:

We will share our videos and photos from our visit in a future email with a private link (because we can share with friends, and you are our friends!), but in the meantime here are a few photos I took:

One of the best stories from our visit: the enormous and ancient wood tanks are only cleaned out every 50-100 years. The tartaric build-up becomes a crust on the inside (inches thick), and in order to clean the tanks a worker has to climb in from the top with a ladder and chip away at the crust. It’s considered an honor to do this job. There is one worker who recently retired after 60 years at Viña Tondonia, and one of the highlights for him was the last month of his employment he was the one chosen to climb into the tank.

Another amazing thing is that to filter the wine, they bundle cuttings from the vineyard and drop them in the tank right in front of the spout at the bottom. Filtering wine like they did in 1870! Photo from Chuck Kanski from one of his visits to the cellars.

The vineyards – quick overview

There are four single vineyards owned by the winery, each with their own personality. The Viña Gravonia vineyard is for white wine production (which is sold out worldwide due to demand and small production … after aging for ten years before release!). The other three are the focus of today’s offer.

Viña Cubillo

From the winery website:

Viña Cubillo wines come from the vineyard called Viña Cubillas, some 4 km away from the bodega, which as with all of the other vineyards, was bought by our founder. Historically these wines were called “Special Harvest”.  Vina Cubillas has an altitude of 410 m, and the vines have an average age of 40 years. The soil is from the terciary age and is a mixture of clay and limestone. Viña Cubillas covers 24 ha, of which 16 ha are under Tempranillo, 4 ha Garnacha, 2 ha Mazuelo and 2 ha Graciano.

With parcels called “La Encina” and “La Monja”, Viña Cubillas is a vineyard that produces exceptional wines sold as Crianza. These wines could be easily be marketed as Gran Reservas due to the exceptional combination of soil, aspect and vines.

https://www.lopezdeheredia.com/english/vinedos/cubillo.html

Viña Cubillo is always one of my personal favorites … consistent aromas of a clean butcher shop, earth, dried raspberries, and loads of grainy tannins. It’s the ideal wine to have with roasted duck or pork dishes.

Viña Bosconia

From the winery website:

Viña Bosconia wines come from our vineyard called El Bosque. Originally, our great-grandfather, the founder, with his French influence, gave the wines names inspired by French wines.  Viña Bosconia comes from a Burgundy-style wine that he used to make with a high percentage of Pinot Noir, and which he called “Rioja Cepa Borgoña”.

The El Bosque vineyard is situated next to the river Ebro at an altitude of 465m and it is one kilometre away from our winery.  Vines are planted on the south-facing foothills of the Sierra Cantabria range, providing them with the perfect conditions for ripening. The soil is a mixture of clay and limestone, and the average age of the vines is 40 years.  El Bosque consists of 15 ha, 11 of which are Tempranillo, 2 ha of red Garnacho , 1 ha of Mazuelo and 1 ha of Graciano.

In general, Viña Bosconia wines are elegant but full-bodied; have a deep colour and good structure, and are wines with great complexity and expression.

The Viña Bosconia Reserva is made every year in quantities varying from 20,000 to 48,000 bottles. The difference between the Reserva and the Gran Reserva wines is that the former are made every year and are “coupage” wines and not vintage wines. They age for 5 years in American oak barrels, and are hand racked around 10 times before they are released to the market.

https://www.lopezdeheredia.com/english/vinedos/bosconia.html

Viña Bosconia from a warm and ripe year such as 2011 is a treat, and time has proven its aging ability. I usually get riper red fruits and complex structure from the wine, with a kaleidoscope of flavors that change with every sip. This is intellectual wine, great with roasted lamb.

Vina Tondonia

Considered the ‘cream of the crop’ when it comes to this winery, Vina Tondonia is the most famous of the labels and the most collectable.

From the winery website:

Between 1913 and 1914, Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta founded Viña Tondonia, which was to become the bodega´s most famous product. Viña Tondonia is a beautiful vineyard of over 100 hectares, situated on the right bank of the river Ebro, where the most typical Rioja wines are grown.

The Tondonia vineyard, of López de Heredia is the most spectacular in Haro. Situated in a shell – like depression in the terrain, alongside the Ebro river which borders the Basque Rioja, it makes up a landscape of alluvium, limestone and poplars.

Not a single grape from other wine regions has ever been used to make any of our wines; not even when the Consejo Regulador  (Regulating Body) of the DOC Rioja once permitted grapes from other regions to be used under certain terms and circumstances, . This bodega has never made use of any other grapes or wines since it was founded in 1877; a fact acknowledged by the Regulating Body in the form of a “Diploma de Garantía” (Diploma of Guarantee) awarded solely to López de Heredia/Viña Tondonia, S. A.  This diploma is proudly displayed on the back label of all our bottles.

Tondonia is simply one of the great wines of the world, and should be $100+ per bottle. Maybe someday soon it will be, but for now the family is giving us a gift of access to something legendary and rare. It’s the most complex and ageworthy of the bunch, and will pay you back with memories and joy. Always decant an hour or two before serving (if the wine is under 20 years old).

ABOUT OUR OFFER

Solo Vino has been one of the top supporters of Vina Tondonia López de Heredia for twenty years. As a result, Chuck and his team get access that other retailers do not. Here we have what is without a doubt the best offer (and prices) that you’ll find on these wines in 2023, possibly nationwide.

We have the following available for you:

2011 Viña Bosconia Reserva

92+ points Parker: “2011 was a warmer and riper year, but there’s not a huge difference between the 2011 Viña Bosconia Reserva and the 2010; this is perhaps mellower, with more integrated acidity. It’s 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.3 and 6.7 grams of acidity measured in tartaric acid per liter, and it fermented in the 144-year-old oak vats and matured in used American oak barrels for five years. 88,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2018.”

2015 Viña Cubillo

93 points Parker: “The 2015 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza reflects the warmer conditions of the year, and with the riper fruit they picked to produce this wine, they still managed to keep around 13.5% alcohol. The Cubillo vineyard has more clay, and sometimes clay soils take heat better and make the wines fresher than those from poorer soils.”

2010 Viña Tondonia (one of our favorite Rioja vintages)

96 points Parker: “The 2010 Viña Tondonia Reserva has all I expect from a Reserva from Tondonia, complexity, elegance and evolution, a developed nose with notes of forest floor and wild berries, herbs and flowers, a touch of iodine, brick dust and very fine, polished tannins. It has the seriousness and elegance of Tondonia. This is a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacho (they use the masculine form of the name of the grape) and 5% each Graciano and Mazuelo that fermented in the ancient oak vats from when the winery was created 144 years ago and matured in well-seasoned, American oak barrels for six years. It has 13% alcohol, a pH of 3.4 and 6.6 grams of acidity. 260,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in May 2017.”

Chuck’s review of the 2010 Tondonia: Traditionally for me the Tondonia starts slow and picks up steam down the road. Usually I reserve my complete thoughts for the end of night two or start of night three. Right after the cork was pulled I knew this was going to be a vastly different wine. The fruit was tight and proud right from the pour. Body was solid and the tension between fruit and tannin was a stalemate. Two large, side by side bricks of supple tannin and bright, tart cherry fruit. This wine is AMAZING!

and … get this … 2008 Viña Tondonia Reserva HALF BOTTLES!!!

95 points Parker: “The nose of the 2008 Viña Tondonia Reserva is very elegant, fresh and with an herbal twist, starting to show the complexity of the aged wines that are sometimes still too young when they are released 10+ years from the vintage! The palate is medium-bodied, with lightness and depth, very classical with extra freshness and all that is needed for a long development in bottle. This is the more Tondonia of the two vintages I tasted side by side. There are notes of maple syrup, smoke, licorice and crisp fruit. The palate is more austere, crunchy and reveals the chalkiness of the soils. There’s more definition and precision here.”

Buying advice

We have assembled the wines so you can buy bottle-by-bottle, or get more discounts by buying mixed packs. We also have a solid case offer on the incredible 2010 Viña Tondonia, which we are over the moon about.

All of these wines will make you happy, guaranteed. All will age like a tortoise. All will elevate the food at the table. And the best thing is that each of these wines will connect you with history and a winery, one of the last ones left, doing things truly in the old way.

Thank you, everyone! We couldn’t do this without you!

Jason Kallsen
Sommelier and founder/owner of Twin Cities Wine Education


Offer and special pricing are available through Monday, or as inventory lasts

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