2000 Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva

“The best kind of wine is that which is most pleasant to him who drinks it.”
                                                                        ---- Pliny the Elder
The longer I live and the more wine I drink, the more I appreciate the aptness of old Pliny’s thought on wine.  My rules for reviewing wines have always been just two:  (1) First, if I don’t like a wine, I won’t review it. For example, wines are sometimes sent me for review. If I don’t enjoy the wine, I don’t review it.  I won’t pan a wine with a bad review, and I won’t pretend to have enjoyed a wine if I did not. Better, I simply go mute (as so many of my friends must have wished over the years). The second rule is simple, for review on this blog, the wine needs to retail under $30: usually in the twenties.

The question is what to do with a wine I did not enjoy, but also did not dislike. And that question, after all these years of tasting, only now presented itself with this Gran Reserva.  The credentials for this wine are so formidable, I feel I should like it. Most people enjoy Spanish wine, after all. And this is a Gran Reserva. The juice matured in barrel for 4 ½ years and then was aged in the bottle for another 6 years.  At $23 a bottle, that’s only $2.19 a year for storage, not counting the actual wine, label, cork, labor, shipping and retail mark up!
I like the grapes: Tempranillo (30%), Garnacho a.k.a. Grenache (60%) and Viura (10%).  Vina Tondonia is a rose and it’s summer: good time for a rose. The wine has character. It is not bland as are many rose wines.  No, this wine presents as wine, neither washed out nor as a sweet soft drink. Parker gives it 90 points. And while we can debate the merits of the point system until boxed wine becomes haute, I think we’d all agree that a 90 point score is not the equivalent of a “C” grade.  The rating from International Wine Cellar was 91 points.

So what’s the problem?  It’s not the color. And it’s not the nose (ripe peach).  The initial taste presents a combo of ripe plum and tart cherry with the ripe plum more dominant.  It’s the back taste that troubles me: It is fino sherry like, and it overpowers and lingers.  While I like sherry, I like it best in sherry and in the fall. And while it is not unpleasant, it is not (to me) pleasing either.  This fino-sherry finish is so strong, it makes the wine one-dimensional by bullying away the other tastes. .

All which brings us back to Pliny and the open-mindedness of his position.

.............. Jim
* Visit facebook.com/winemizer for mini-tips on wine & food

No comments:

Post a Comment