María José López de Here­dia and fam­ily

Decanter - - RIOJA -

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

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