|Tondonia in winter|
R. Lopzez de Heredia, Vina Tondonia, Rioja Reserva, 2001
Word had it that this is a long distance runner and might need more time, and, for my tastes, while it's in a very good place already, it's still in a grumpy phase where it seems to talk about the cave and barrels it was raised in more than about the land where the grapes came from. For me, it's quite alright, as the barrels and caves are part of the heritage, but I look forward to further developments. Anyway, an intense nose, with sweet (as opposed to ripe) fruit that starts red and morphs into black, embroidered by hints of balsam and spices. The palate is sweet on the attack with a saline, savory, yet grainy finish. Oscillating between soft and grainy, it develops into a rich fullness, one that doesn't broach the line into senseless extravaganza, staying balanced and classy. (May 9, 2013)
Needs more time, not to soften and open up so much as to settle down. How much time? Anywhere between two and fifteen years.
Questions. Doubts. The Gran Reserva Blanco '91 was really great, but does this Reserva hint that its big brother, the Gran Reserva red, could be as great as Ygay or La Rioja Alta 890? I'm not quite sure yet.
Ossian, Castilla y Leon, 2010
I was surprised to find this Verdejo weights in at 14.5% ABV, because it would usually signal a style not exactly up Eldad's alley. But the alcohol is rather well held in check, giving the body weight, roundness and creaminess, rather than burning on the finish. Stylistically, it's not unlike the Austrian Gruner Veltliners he carries, with a mix of herbs and minerals on the nose belying the ripeness of the palate. It seems to require at least some cellaring, although I hesitate to mention that, because the winery's PR machine is broadcasting hints that are too obvious (and I can't promise my thinking wasn't affected): old, pre-Phyxollera wines, Burgundian techniques. Only time will tell whether the marriage of technique and variety was too forced, but it's certainly a very interesting wine and worth a try. (May 10, 2013)