Top Riojas through the ages

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Sarah Jane Evans MW explores the stylistic evolution of Rioja and suggests the best wines to look out for and buy from vintages spanning the last two decades...
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Rioja, Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia
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López de Heredía, Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva 1994

López de Heredía, Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva 1994
An original. Enjoying a splendid revival for its loyal commitment to traditional practices (‘All our wines can be aged for 19 years or more’). With up to 10 years of age in US oak, the wines are attenuated in colour, but not in palate strength. Tertiary flavours combine with subtle notes of vanilla, fruit and sweet spice, and firm acidity. 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. 18.5pts/20 (95/100pts)
Price £54–£75 AG Wines, Fine & Rare, Fortnum & Mason, Roberson, Swig, The Sampler, The Wine Society
Drink 2013–2033
Alc 12.5%