August 12, 2013

The Wines of Lopez de Heredia

Lopez de Heredia is perhaps not a name that lies on the tip of your tongue; unless, of course, you are a bit of a wine geek. As a recent convert to the brilliance of LDH wines, I encourage you to seek some out. Lopez de Heredia has been producing Spanish Rioja wine for over 135 years. As both the red and white LDH wines age (and man, they can age!), they become beguiling wines that offer singular wine-drinking experiences. The red wines are made primarily from tempranillo, the whites from obscure varietals such as viura and malvasia. The wines, even the Gran Reserva wines from the early 1990s, can be found now in the Atlanta market.
The oldest LDH wines pictured above at a  party with friends last fall. They all showed especially well, feminine and delicate wines that are also serious and stoke one's intellectual curiosities about how carefully-crafted wines transform with age. The red wines take on a profile that is similar to Burgundy's great Pinot Noir as they age, but they are, in my experiences, often more delicate.
 The 1994 that I brought to Bocca Lupo last weekend.
The white wines display a nutty, oxidative profile as they age. When first opening, the whites can almost seem too old, as if you've opened a wine that's long past its prime. However, with some air, they usually open to display a interesting waxy feel to the palate and can seem almost oily at times.
The white wines pair well with grilled meats, veggies, and seafood. This 1991 is opened several weeks ago was not nearly as nuanced as the 1981 below. Hard to think of a 23 year old wine just starting to drink well, but that's the case. The 1991 is on the shelf in town for under $40. While that's not cheap for most of us, it's worth it for the experience if you are open to trying new an interesting wines. If you've not tried an LDH wine before, you can find them around town at fairly reasonable prices relative to what they offer.

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