|When to drink|
This very rare rosé is only produced in exceptional years by Lopez Heredia – approximately once every 8-10 years. Please note that stocks of this wine are so limited that you need to buy 20 bottles of Tondonia Red Rioja Reserva in order to purchase 1 bottle of this Rosado Gran Reserva.
The Wine Advocate awards it 94/100pts and describes it as follows:- “The only Gran Reserva rosé of the Rioja appellation (they were waiting for the appellation’s back labels, as they have to print them especially for López de Heredia) makes a glorious comeback with the 2008 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva, which follows the previous 2000. This has a completely different profile from the rest of the rosé wines produced in Rioja—and the whole world (I think, as I have not tasted them all!). It really is a “clarete,” not a rosé, as it’s produced with a mixture of red and white grapes (60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 10% Viura) fermented and macerated together. It’s a matured and developed rosé aged in used American oak barrels for four years and kept in vat and bottle to be released at age ten. There are always spicy and musky notes of cinnamon and dried flowers with a nutty twist, which the winery likes to describe as “halfway between a white and a red.” It has an orange, onion-skin color with an unusual, characterful nose, a thousand miles removed from any rosé in the world, with notes of cinnamon, almonds and dried rose petals, but it feels still very young and it can develop more aromas in the bottle. The palate has sharp acidity and pungent flavors, which make the wine very long and persistent. This is not a wine for everybody; it can be one of those hate-it or love-it wines, an acquired taste. For comparison’s sake, I tasted a bottle of the rosé from 1976, and the wine had a fully developed nose with a lot of aromas reminiscent of their whites, with hints of asparagus and herbal tea. Going back to the 2008, it showed totally primary and with aromas that made me think of hard candy and flowers. 13,200 bottles were filled in May 2014. When I asked María José López de Heredia about their latest news, she simply replied, “We keep making Viña Tondonia as we have always done it.” But the good news is that the rosé is making a comeback in the market, as the 2008 is released ten years after the harvest. The previous vintage was 2000, but there was a hiatus, as the market didn’t support an oak-aged rosé with ten years of age, and they stopped making it. However, tastes changed again, and when demand came back, they had no wine to offer. It’s the same as the rest of the other Gran Reserva wines, which will not come back into the market until 2021, with the wines from the exceptional 2001 vintage. I’m already counting down the days! Here, the surprise is 2006, which in some parts of Rioja could be a bit warm but here is a lot fresher, and the wines are superb. They compared it with 2015, a year they like very much and think will have to be aged in barriques for a very long time. As for 2017, they had a big loss of volume because of frost. Even if their wines are released at least ten years after the harvest, most of them will develop in bottle for years, sometimes decades, something I know well, but María José López de Heredia insisted on uncorking a rosé and a white from the 1970s that were singing.”