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“Amazing wines.” Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate on Bosconia Reserva
“Rioja’s greatest estate.”John Gilman
During the 1990s and 2000s, when traditional Riojas seemed to be a dying breed, López de Heredia was nearly alone in having changed nothing in their winemaking. As a result, no name is more revered today in Rioja.
López continued to make their wines only from their own vineyards, with long aging in old American barricas as had been done since the 1870s. Viña Tondonia and Viña Bosconia remained the pinnacles of its offerings, each a uniquely traditional expression of a great terroir.
The wines that López makes from Viña Tondonia’s sheltered amphitheater are the very essence of Rioja Alta elegance. Meanwhile, like CUNE’s fuller-bodied Viña Real, Viña Bosconia owes its richer, rounder character to its higher-altitude, full-south facing slope and greater proportion of Tempranillo in the blend.
But, at just 15 hectares, Bosconia’s vineyard is much smaller than the 70-hectare Tondonia, and far less wine is made from it. Consequently, we prize the annual allocation of Bosconia Reserva we get directly from the bodega—a result of our having been the first major US retailer to advocate for López’s greatness two decades ago.
And so it’s a privilege to offer a mixed six-pack spanning three great vintages—2006, 2005 and the already-rare 2004.
As the richer and softer of López's iconic pair, Viña Bosconia has its roots in founder Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta’s creation of a Burgundy-style cuvée.
Inspired by great red Burgundy, Don Rafael used a high percentage of Pinot Noir in his Rioja Cepa Borgoña, which roughly translates to “Rioja made from Burgundy variety.” But by 1934, this cuvée had evolved to become Viña Bosconia, sourced exclusively from the estate’s El Bosque vineyard, with the Pinot Noir replaced by a majority proportion of Tempranillo.
And, ever since, it has served as the richer qualitative counterpart to Tondonia’s definitive elegance, with even the López family itself divided regarding which is their favorite.
The key to Bosconia’s more powerful character is its source, the great El Bosque (‘the forest’) vineyard. Its south-facing slope of limestone and clay, situated at 465-meter elevation in the Sierra Cantabria foothills above the Ebro River, is planted to 40-year-old vines—the vast majority of them Tempranillo, augmented by smaller plantings of Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano.
And its ideal exposure and soil brings the fruit from these old vines to beautiful concentrated ripeness, enhancing the terroir’s naturally rich, full-bodied character.
In their ancient cellars, López continues to make Bosconia Reserva with the same unwavering care and patience as it always has, with gentle extractions and a full five years aging in old American oak barrels.
Through this iconic terroir and these time-honored methods, these three Bosconia Reservas are utterly pure expressions of terroir, style and vintage—with the riper, richer 2006 and 2004 bookending the more subtle and elegant 2005.
And the chance to secure all three of them together, from perfect provenance, is an opportunity that no one who loves classic Rioja should pass up.
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