Sep 07 2016

R. López de Heredia: Tradition and Conviction, Century-Old Attributes

At R. López de Heredia, the vinification process is a family tradition passed on from generation to generation; it is a mystique which is present in its daily routine and is rooted in perennial traditions and the strong belief in the validity and modernity of the bodega’s methods

Tradition, in the case of R. López de Heredia, should not be understood as an indirect synonym of inflexibility, stagnation, resistance to change, or self-complacency, but as a dynamic and aesthetic concept which stems from upholding a series of values and criteria which have been shaped over years and have endure the test of time; a concept very far removed from more comparatively temporary trends, and which is confirmed by its century-old daily routine.

However, this bodega is well-aware of the continuous changes that set out the guidelines of current consumer tastes, as well as the innovations which abound in the world of wine. As a result, openness to change, flexibility of criteria, non-conformity, and self-criticism are the elements which allow this bodega to face the future with decision, and strengthen its belief even more, if possible, in its own model, its own idiosyncrasy.

Firstly, professionalism; secondly, ethics

The driving force behind this idiosyncrasy is its ancestral inheritance, consisting of quality and positive attitudes with which the bodega feels completely identified. Its current and future commitment can be summarised in two maxims which epitomise López de Heredia’s track record: Firstly, professionalism, as a quality which offers the consumer a unique product of the highest quality, in its facet of artisan, viticulturist, and winemaker. And secondly, ethics, as a norm of business practice and personal motivation, promoting the wellbeing of all who form part of its venture and contributing to the enjoyment of customers and friends; in short, trying to contribute candidly to society by giving the very best from its dreams and desires.

Throughout its 140-year history, the different López de Heredia generations have devoted themselves to making exceptional wines, masterpieces of craftsmanship and refinement, apt to follow the most famous in the world; a desire which the bodega’s founder, Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, in the 19th century, described as the "Ultimate Rioja".

Vineyard husbandry, the painstaking selection of grapes, the ageing process in Bordeaux oak barrels in the heart of its deep subterranean galleries, and further ageing in the bottle, give rise to wines endowed with a fine delicacy of nuances which affords them their exceptional bouquet.

The magic of the ageing process:  whites is in oak for the same duration as reds

For several years the wines made at López de Heredia went under different names according to their vinification process, brand names which today have been consolidated and are now famous around the world; wines led by Viña Tondonia, just as the founder envisaged in his initial dream.

A special mention ought to be given to its white wines; if ever there was a bodega with extensive experience in making aged white wines then that has to be López de Heredia. This bodega has no qualms when it comes to ageing white wine in oak for the same duration as red wines. The result is more surprising than might be expected. When this type of wine ages for a long period in oak, it might seem logical to imagine that the flavours and aromas of the wood become more pronounced or even unbalanced, which could give the impression that the best time to taste this wine is not straight after the ageing process.

However, when the ageing process in the bottle has smoothed off the rough edges of the wood, it creates new and enticing aromas of spices, bitter almond, vanilla and walnut, leading to the aforementioned ‘bouquet’, which makes ‘Viña Tondonia blanco’ both majestic and opulent.

Guarantee of quality from Rioja Regulation Council

The grapes used to make its wines are never brought in from outside the Rioja region. In recognition of this exclusivity, R. López de Heredia’s Viña Tondonia was awarded a diploma of guarantee by QDO Rioja’s Regulating Council, and is the only bodega to ever have received such an honour, which it flaunts with pride on the back label of all its bottles.

R. López de Heredia exports to 40 countries around the world, targeting 50 percent of its sales on foreign markets, a figure which is currently on the increase. Its wines have an increasing number of followers over the past decade. Its main destination countries are: the US, Mexico, Germany, and the UK.

Aware of the fact that its heritage is its greatest and foremost asset, for the past five years it has been running a cultural project aimed at the study, research and restoration of every historic object and document in its power, as well as its dissemination via different forums.

La Rioja

La Rioja