Tuesday, May 27, 2008
1997 R. López de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rosado Crianza
The general rule is that a Rosé should only be drank during the current vintage. Yet there are certainly exceptions. A fair amount of Rosés, especially good French ones, still taste good from the previous vintage. The Rosés from Domaine Tempier can usually last at least a few years. But who would think that a Rosé that is eleven years old would still taste good?
Well, this past weekend I found an eleven year-old Rosé, from Spain. And this is a Rosé that was just released the prior year! It certainly intrigued me so I had to buy a couple bottles to taste. And I am very glad that I did.
I found the 1997 R. López de Heredia Vino Tondonia Rosado Crianza ($25) at South End Formaggio. Around 1913 and 1914, Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta founded Viña Tondonia, the bodega´s most famous vineyard and product. Viña Tondonia is a beautiful vineyard of over 100 hectares, situated on the right bank of the river Ebro. They are a very traditional bodega and create some stunning wines.
This Rosado is a blend of 60% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 10% Viura. The wine was aged in the barrel for four and a half years, being racked twice per year and fined with fresh egg whites. The 1997 vintage was consided Good. The winery stated: "It is in vintages such as this one where the results of our viticulture experience and a top-level oenology gives us the capacity to deal with difficult situations and can have a result like this wine, still fresh 10 years later."
The first telltale sign of the age of this wine is its color. Rather than a shade of pink like most Rosé, the color of this wine is more orange/copper. The nose is also different from most other Rosés. It has more of a smell of apricot and orange with spice notes, not the usual strawberry, watermelon, raspberry flavors. On the palate, it is a dry wine with an exotic blend of fruit, spice and other flavors, including a bit of butterscotch. It is definitely a complex wine where the flavors flit back and forth in your mouth, sometimes teasing you with familiarity before vanishing just as you were going to identify the taste. It is a smooth wine with a lingering finish. Such a radical departure from the usual Rosé but quite intriguing. Despite its age, it definitely has not lost any flavor. It has only become more complex and interesting.
This is a wine I highly recommend. It is an unusual find and well worth its price. This is more of a wine lover's wine rather than something for the person just seeking a fruity Caifornia Rosé. Buy yourself a bottle and taste a truly superior wine.