López de Heredia (Vina Tondonia)
A trip to Lopez de Heredia is to understand the huge significance tradition and continuity can have on wine making. Over the last 50 years there have been great changes in Rioja and most wines made today bear little resemblance to wines made a generation ago. An exception to this are the wines of Lopez de Heredia. They avoid modern wine making shortcuts and stay true to their own time-honoured method of wine production. María José López de Heredia kindly showed me around her families vineyards and winery.
When you walk around the Lopez de Heredia winery you are struck by how little has changed: I have watched them making their own barrels – the only wine maker to do so in Spain. Temperature is controlled during fermentation by the opening and closing of doors rather than through refrigeration. Little has changed, but this is not a quaint cottage industry; it is a serious winery run by an extraordinarily knowledgeable family who are passionate about the wines they produce. Their wines stand out from the crowd because they could not be made anywhere else; that’s one of the reasons they are so special.