Above: The last few precious sips of 1985 Viña Tondonia from R. López de Heredia at dinner last night. I kept smelling my empty glass, which I refused to put down.

These elegant, traditionally styled Riojas need no introduction from me. You can visit the winery’s website to learn more; K&L has a short interview with María José López de Heredia here; and Old World Old School has a post with tasting notes on more recent vintages of Tondonia and Bosconia, another vineyard wine bottled by López de Heredia. And if you’d like to buy a bottle, Terroir in San Francisco has several vintages in stock, including this ’85.

Maria José also has some interesting thoughts on tasting wine (from that same K&L interview):

I was taught to distinguish among objective, subjective and affective tasting. If I taste objectively I think of virtues or defects. When I drink subjectively I decide what I like and what I don’t. When I taste affectively I think of enjoyment.

Consciously at least, I’m probably most often in the first two categories when tasting (working?), but this notion of affective tasting intrigues me. It strikes me as an interesting way to explain those feelings and emotions stirred by a great wine. Those elements that, in other words, leave you speechless.


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