D.O. Rioja, Spain
“Perhaps no winery in the world guards its traditions as proudly and steadfastly as López de Heredia does… it is paradoxically a winery in the vanguard, its viticulture and winemaking is a shining, visionary example for young, forward-thinking producers all over the world… At López de Heredia, there is serenity that comes with adherence to core principles…” August 12th, 2009 by Eric Asimov, The New York Times
There are few wineries in Spain, or in the world, whose name conjures the heritage and prestige evoked by R. López de Heredia. Little about this winery has changed in the 142 years since its founding by, Don Rafael López de Heredia. The family adheres to a winemaking doctrine blueprinted in the 1880s – to make wine only from their own vineyards.
When it comes to the winemaking process, the work in the vineyard has not changed since the 1880’s. R. López de Heredia is a “traditionalist” through and through and keeping the traditions alive today is important to maintain not only the quality but the personality of the house. Working by hand with some of the best terroir, respecting the soil, and working with nature on what it needs is something R. López de Heredia is very proud of.
Fermentation takes place in their 72 large oak vats, some of which are 142 years old. After fermentation, the wines are ready to be aged in 14,000 handmade American oak barrels. The wines will remain at R. López de Heredia’s underground cellars, stored at perfect temperature and tranquility for a minimum of 3 to 10 years. Wines acquire their smoothness and bouquet during the bottle aging that follows, a minimum of 3 years for Crianzas, and 10 years for Gran Reserva wines. Aging wines should be seen as a pedagogic act; the wine is “educated", hence should never be rushed through sped-up improvisations which would destroy the biological process that give it its special character. Wines need to spend a minimum of three years in barrels to begin to manifest their “education” and their soul.