Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lopez De Heredia Tasting

Just last night I got this email from one of my favorite small wine stores in the East Village - Tino Fino they are having a very special and rare tasting of wines from one of my all time favorite wine makers the good folks at Lopez de Heredia who are still making wine the old fashioned way. You really need to make it over to Tinto Fino this Saturday and check them out.

I wish I could be here for this, but I'm getting on a plane and going to Rome today! More about that later. Here's the info on the wine tasting:

Join us for a tasting this Saturday, November 7, from 4pm-7pm and see why Lopez de Heredia followers are constantly intrigued and hopelessly devoted.

Lopez de Heredia Viña Gravonia Blanco 1999
Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosado 1998
Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia 2001
Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva 2000

Established 132 years ago by Don Rafael Lopez de Heredia, this is a winery where time has absolutely stood still. Exploring the bodega was like taking a trip back to 1877. Ancient tools are still being used, thick penicillin lines the walls down crumbling stone stairs, and a dense cellar silence makes one forget all about the stainless steel and machinery buzz of modern wine-making.

A basic insight to understanding the wines of Lopez de Heredia is two-fold. One aspect is their classic viticulture and vinification: the hand harvested grapes come from family owned vineyards and are fermented in large American oak vats, using only indigenous yeasts of La Rioja. The malolactic fermentation takes place in smaller barriques constructed on site in their cooperage. The wine is then moved for a lengthy aging in American oak barrels where it may rest for decades in one of the largest natural underground caves of Rioja. Thus begins a period when the wines of Lopez de Heredia develop their distinct oxidized characteristics, ripe red fruits and unmistakable terroir.

Another defining aspect of this winery is patience. The absolute minimum amount of time a wine will spend in barrel is 3 years, and that includes their blancos y rosados. As Mercedes Lopez de Heredia led us through dark caves filled with labyrinths of bottles, buried under layers of dust and cobwebs, (acting as a natural temperature and humidity regulator), she said, “As you can see, we’re not in a hurry here.” Lopez de Heredia releases the wines when they are fully mature and ready to be most enjoyed.

Lopez de Heredia's legendary wine-making tradition is both deeply intuitive and laborious. The rewards of their vision are demonstrated upon tasting and indeed well worth the wait. Don't wait any longer. Let your patience and palate be rewarded.

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