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15 March 2006

Spain: Old School Pink & White

As you may know by now, The Gray Lady has dipped her toe into the wineblogging pool.  For deep thoughts into what this might mean for wineblogdom, visit Vinography or Fermentation.  My take is this: More eyeballs on wine blogs is a good thing.  More people reading passionate, down-to-earth wine writing is an even better thing.  And more wine lovers discovering new & exciting wine is superterrific.

RosadoHowever, I'm most excited about Eric A's initial post on a Spanish Rosé from Rioja.  This aint no day-glo rosé  It's old school.  I love this wine.  Or rather, I was planning on loving this wine.  You see, a few months ago during a trip to New York, I purchased Heredia's Viña Tondonia Rosado (1995).  But then something tragic happened.  I forgot the bottle when I checked out of my hotel and never heard from it again.  So sad.

Reading about such a unique Spaniard, reminded me of my initial experience with traditional white Rioja made by the same producer - Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia.  It is equally unique:

Old School White Rioja
(originally published 27 Oct. 2004)

Back in the day (read: the early 90's and before) White Rioja of Spain was one of the most uniqe white wines around.  Sadly, today the creeping global wine style is erasing many of these wine gems.


Luckily there are still a few wineries in Spain that go for tradition and character over sameness.  One in particular is Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia of Rioja Alta (Upper Rioja or NW Rioja).  Lopez de Heredia  still releases well-aged white Rioja.  For example, its Viña Gravonia '91 continues to dwell on many wine store shelves.  This wine is made of Viura and Malvasia.  It is aged four years in American oak.  (As an aside, Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia was one of the first to use oak aging in Rioja.)  Viña Gravonia is almost Sherry-like in character.  It's nutty aroma and sea-salt accent bring to mind a Fino Sherry.  If you see this wine, or any other well-aged white Rioja, around, give it a try.


The Skinny
Bodegas R. Lopez de Heredia - Viña Gravonia 1991 ($20)
lemon-gold color with brown undertones
Sherry-like scents of nuts, figs and spics
In the mouth it's very understated and delicate.  Light with a creamy finish.
**** (4 stars out of 5)

Try it alone or with hard cheeses and savor a truly unique wine

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