Even a cursory glance at the Lopez de Heredia website (lopezdeheredia.com) will indicate the importance of the traditional values of this operation. From solely using grapes from their own vineyards, coopering their own barrels out of Appalachian oak to the ageing of both red and white wines, the sense of continuity dominates. As red and white Riojas rush to fruitier, fuller and less oaky styles – thereby losing their distinguishing characteristics – LH haven’t changed. And the world has caught up with them.
A white Vina Gravonia 2003 has been sitting in my ‘cellar’ for about three years (I’ve also an ’02) and Sunday we tried it. Very deep gold in colour, bright and clear, it had a slightly weighty (lanolin) look. So far, so excellent.
The aroma was the sherry smell of slightly oxidised orange peel, and as we both said, ‘quite unique’. Or very unique. Or too unique. Whatever it was, it was good.
With the colour and the age one is not prepared for the fresh, balanced acidity of the palate, as if it had just been drawn from the barrel; reminiscent, to me, of the sherry bars in Jerez. As Richard said, this could be served with ‘nibbles’ as an aperitif, the dryness slightly edged with sweetness. It’s medium in length. For their quality (and age) these wines are very good value – if you like your Riojas traditional. And we certainly do.
[Richard: our first joint tasting for ages with work and holidays getting in the way. We went to Rhodes where the wines were ordinary – nowhere near as good as Kefalonia, last year, although our village had little in the way of decent shops. A not-bad assrytiko in a restaurant was as good as it got. Incidentally the waitress was astounded that decent Greek wine could be bought in the UK.
So – onto the wine. This is a taste we know well and have blogged on before. Absolutely unmistakable and a seductive drink with loads of flavour. Something every wine lover should try.]