Bodegas Lopez de Heredia 2008 Rioja Crianza Cubillo 750ml
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Bodegas Lopez de Heredia 2011 Rioja Crianza Cubillo 750ml

$53.90 (Inc. Taxes)
$46.87 (Ex. Taxes)
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The first of the reds here is the 2008 Viña Cubillo Tinto Crianza from a cooler vintage that produced some austere and serious wines--a year with higher acidity and lively fruit. It feels effervescent and it makes you salivate. This is usually a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, 5% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo from 50-year-old vines that ferments in ancient oak vats, and ages in barrel for three years. This cuvée has increased its quality tremendously since the 1990s. These cooler years provide citric freshness, and a very fine texture and vibrant acidity. This is so easy to drink that it can be dangerous.This was the Rioja clarete fino--the everyday red. It's both elegant and powerful. Very good value, too. 99,000 bottles produced.

Score: 92 points --

There are no Gran Reserva wines until the 2001 vintage. The white was last produced in 1996 and the reds Bosconia and Tondonia from 1995. So we'll have to wait a few years, most likely until 2021. There is a 2008 Rosé, a wine that hadn't been produced since 2000; I previewed it and it has lively acidity that I loved, but María José López de Heredia wants the wine to integrate a bit more. The wines are superb, but unfortunately they are becoming scarce, and I think the situation will get even worse in the future...
I visited the Viña Tondonia vineyards and tasted in a small building they have there, and I also tasted all of the ancient oak vats with María José. These vats contained both young and old wines, red and white. You almost never get to taste unbottled wines here. It was my first, but hopefully not my last time...

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