Since 1877, when Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Landeta first set out on the long road to create exceptional wines in La Rioja region, each generation of his family has made their individual contribution to realising his original dream. Achieving this exacting standard has required strict adherence to the founding principles of working closely with nature to extract the full potential of Rioja wines in their wealth of aromas and flavours. In this respect family owned wine producers have the advantage of absolute control over every facet of the lengthy process, from planting and nurturing vineyards in the most promising sites, through fermentation of selected grapes in American oak barrels hand made by their own master coopers, to the bottle aging of top quality wines for years in deep and silent underground galleries.
Vina Tondonia Rioja wines first came to prominence in the early days of the 20th Century when the Belle Epoque movement hit Europe with an explosion of new styles, tastes and experiences. The newly established Grand Hotels of Madrid and other major cities were quick to recognise Rafael's Rioja wine as new and stylish so before long they became the most sought after in Europe's greatest restaurants. Their reputation spread quickly across the continent and then to the new world across the Atlantic Ocean.
It is likely that most wine drinkers today think first of Rioja as a region famous for red wines. The history of Haro in the centre of Rioja tells us that in the 1500â€™s they produced six times more white than red wines. Gradually tastes changed so by the middle of the nineteenth century the proportions of white and red wines were about 50/50. Vina Tondonia still retains the original method of making white wine which is capable of crafting long lasting whites that mature slowly rather than the modern techniques which produce wines to be consumed at a very young age.
Using Viura and Malvasia grapes, reared organically and harvested by hand in small wooden baskets to keep the fruit undamaged before pressing, a completely natural regime may be followed resulting in wine of exceptional character and capacity to grow old gracefully.
After a lengthy period where the grape juice is left in contact with the skins and pulp, and where fermentation is carefully watched, the wine is aged for between five and eight years depending on whether it is to be Reserva or Gran Reserva status. Over the years the sediment gradually drifts to the bottom of the barrel allowing the wine to stabilise perfectly while developing flavour and complexity. Vina Tondonia top quality white wines will amaze you and open a fresh vista to all wine lovers.
Red wines are treated with the same application of tradition and technique vital if long lived vintages are to be laid down. The best known reds are Vina Bosconia employing a greater proportion of tempranillo and Vina Tondonia with a colour associated with the black indigenous graciano and mazuelo varieties of grapes. Many years of watchful development in the cool cellars will eventually bring forth truly remarkable examples of true Rioja taste which lives on through the ages. Truly Rioja Supremo.
At present, Pedro Lopez de Heredia upholds the family tradition without compromise and is very much at home, simply dressed, working with his employees who stack barrels or help with the upkeep of the vineyards and bodega buildings. Indeed the bodega itself was built by the workers, stone by stone in a steady progress over 30 years or more.
He is dedicated to uphold the original genius of his forebear Rafael which seems to fly in the face of modern big business - the benefit is to today's generation of lovers of great wines. A visit to his traditional bodega and vineyards will demonstrate more clearly than a thousand words or pictures just what tradition in the making of fine wines really means in the 21st century.