1998 R. López de Heredia Rioja Rosado Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia

This summer, I was hot for Lopez de Heredia and yet, I missed my opportunity to purchase this wine when it was first released. So, tonight - I jumped when my local Sommelier pointed out something special on the list: The 1998 R. López de Heredia Rioja Rosado Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia. Excuse me? Yeah, it's a mouthful. Even before opening, the color seduces you ... In the glass, vibrant peach rust hues lure you into the bouquet of sweet marzipan, bright red fruit, warmed sawdust, dried apricot, peach cobbler and deep, wet sandy notes. The briny minerality is scary ... Think of laying on a warm, wet beach towel, fresh out of the ocean. If I were blind, I'd guess this as a red. So full, the mouthfeel is unreal. Tart cherry flavors yield to cinnamon spice and as the roller coaster undulates up and down, we're lead from cranberry to wet and woolly sour lactic funk - butter milk notes give me flashbacks of Joly's Coulée de Serrant but, this isn't the Loire my friends... No, no. Twelve years of careful and calculated age show what precision oxidation does to dress up this Rioja cuvée. 60% Grenache, 30% Tempranillo, and 10% Viura intermingle playfully on the tongue and leave you in an mild aldehydic, Jerez like trance as the ethereal marzipan reemerges - morphing into a mature, restrained nuttiness ... Up and down and indeed, well worth the ride!