1999 R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia, S.A. Viña Gravonia Crianza (White)

09262009I’ll start with a simple statement. I love this wine. It’s a wine geek’s wine – all funky “I don’t know what I’m really smelling here” on the nose and then full, fresh fruit and an insane finish when you take a sip.

Seriously though. When I took my first whiff of this wine, my first thought was varnish…  and maybe cracked almond shells or liqueur. That made the first sip even more surprising. Even with a touch of that Frangelico liqueur going on, it had fresh squeezed tangerine and lychee fruit. The finish builds on that and goes out with almond, citrus and a mineral-edged herbal marathon that lasts for minutes.

It’s 100% Viura and is aged in American oak barrels for 4 years before being aged an additional 4 years in the bottle before being released. This is Old World wine done in a uniquely Old World way. God bless them for it too. If you’ve never had a white Rioja and are intrigued by a wine with some age, you really need to seek this one out.

One note if you do buy this wine. Don’t chill it much. This is the type of white that is best served slightly chilled… and by slightly I mean just below room temperature. Don’t leave this in the fridge for long at all.

Shea, from JustGrapesWine.com was with me when I grabbed this and bought the 1989 vintage. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about it.

$35 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

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