Set the time machine for 1999, the 1st rule of fight club is that you do not talk about fight club. You know the 2nd rule. Sommeliers have a similar code. It is always our pleasure to help you find wines YOU will love. However, we don't talk about the wines WE love, except with other Somms; you've got to be in the club. Far too many amazing affordable undiscovered wines have become unobtainable. So, I'm breaking the first and second rule and recommending vintage Rioja. Finding wines of this complexity and polish with a decade or more of bottle age for even three times the price is nearly impossible, unless you have your own time machine. And don't tell anyone I told you.
Don Rafael López de Heredia acquired Viña Tondonia from a group of clergies in 1913. The Tondonia vineyard is a beautiful vineyard of over 247 acres, 1,600 feet above sea level, situated on the right bank of the Ebro River in Rioja Alta. The soil is Alluvial clay with a high concentration of Limestone. There are 4 varieties of red grapes planted in this vineyard: Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano, and Garnacho.
This is as complex and savory as the rest of the Viña Tondonia wines, but also shows a tad more depth, with a hint of black plum and blue fruit on top of the orange rind, iron, tobacco and earthy spices. Expect some cedar and truffle to develop in the future. Juicy, zesty and tight, with a dusty tannins and bright berry fruit on the medium-to full-bodied palate.
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.