White Wine

1981 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Blanco Rioja DOCa Spain

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Rated 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1981 Vina Tondonia Blanco Gran Reserva has a complex bouquet of barley sugar, candle wax, dandelion and a touch of melon. The palate is medium-bodied with fine acidity, dried honey and a touch of lemongrass than lends it edge. The finish is bone dry, beautifully defined and persistent in the mouth. (NM)

Rated 94 points John Gilman
Whereas the 1989 Viña Tondonia Blanco could still do with a couple of years in the cellar to fully blossom, the 1981 is drinking brilliantly at age twenty-seven. This is another Tondonia Blanco that I have had the pleasure of drinking quite a few times this past year, and it is a truly magical bottle of wine. The bouquet is wide open now and delivers a superb mélange of orange zest, lemon, sea salts, fresh almonds, a hint of green olive, grapefruit and white soil tones. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and racy, with great precision and focus, bright acids, a rock solid core and a very long, classy and bouncy finish. The palate is not quite as open for inspection as the nose at this point in the wine’s evolution, and I would not hesitate to keep this tucked away in the cellar for a few more years before drinking it with really wild abandon. Of the younger vintages of Tondonia Blanco, the 1981 is the finest that I have tasted, and it clearly is my candidate to be the next legendary bottle of this wine after the surreal 1964 and 1957.

Rated 92 points Decanter
A Viura-dominated blend from selected plots at Viña Tondonia in Rioja Alta, grown in a warm and dry vintage. This is very intense, with spicy aromas joined by notes of beeswax, flint, citrus peel and dessicated fruit. It's medium-bodied and quite suave, with a straightforward, clean finish. (PBT)

Rated 92 points Vinous
Yellow-gold. Yellow plum, peach and orange rind on the nose, with complicating notes of cinnamon, mace and allspice. The equally complex palate offers sweet pit fruit and citrus flavors and touches of smoky oak and marzipan. Gains weight and nuttiness with air without loss of energy and finishes with clinging honey and orange marmalade qualities. This would be great with a rich poultry or shellfish dish. (JR)

Rated 90 points Wine Spectator
An odd yet complementary mix of firm acidity with mature flavors of dried, honeyed fruit gives this white distinctive character. Notes of tangerine and clove linger on the finish. Not for everyone, but unique. Viura and Malvasia. (TM)