María José López de Heredia and family
One of the great families of Rioja, this centenarian bodega follows winemaking practices that remain loyal to the history of the early Riojas. In recent years it has been hijacked by a storm of attention for its exceptionally long-aged wines – and it is this loyalty to tradition that makes the winery a renegade. Nor will María José López de Heredia be obedient to modern corporate job titles. She simply signs herself ‘Biznieta’ (‘great granddaughter’ of the founder). Earlier this year Carlos Echapresto, sommelier at Rioja’s Michelin-starred Venta Moncalvillo, gave me a glass of an absolutely exceptional Rioja to taste blind. It transpired that it was a wine selected by María José and her sister Mercedes, in a small batch of 3,000 bottles for a private project commissioned by Telmo Rodriguez. It’s a blend of Tempranillo and Graciano that was not bottled as a gran reserva at the time, and it’s totally different again from the existing portfolio. Proof of the glories and surprises of this particular family cellar.
‘These producers are choosing to make their wines according to their own rules’
Mar’a JosŽ L—pez de Heredia