I got home tonight and was compelled to tweet how love is coming home to 1990 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Blanco Reserva.
Our neighbor Jamey had mentioned recently on a walk back from the kids' bus stop how he loves this very old school Spanish producer from Rioja, one of my favorites. Tonight he came by with a nice glass pour from the end of the bottle while hosting a Hanukkah dinner. I wasn't home yet but Jennifer graciously accepted such a gift, though Jamey apparently said "you should just drink it all."
Not bad advice. Jamey's no fool.
Jennifer of course saved me half and, upon my return from a long day at work and some play, I put my nose in the glass. How can 20 year old white wine be so fresh? Yes, the wine is aged in oak for several years and intentionally oxidized in the process, softened and opened by time. Then bottled and held for years.
Now, the cork finally out and wine in the glass for drinking, there is an aroma of spiced lemons, wax and a soft, pleasant herbal character from the American oak aging. And a freshness that belies twenty years since the grapes came off the vine. In the mouth, there's richness and acidity, a brightness immediately that amplifies to a full flavor of lemon cream, spicy wood and jelly candies, then acidity to tighten the flavors and carry them nice and long.
There's an impressive dynamic to this wine. It's clearly not simple wine, yet it's not complicated or difficult to enjoy. Perhaps that's a trait of the greatest wines, and while this is not what I'd call "great," it is very, very good and special. Thanks Jamey, and thanks love for saving me some.