One Fine Wine: Lopez de Heredia Rioja Viña Bosconia 2005

“One Fine Wine” is an occasional series of short posts about individual wines I’ve enjoyed recently.

I love traditional-style Rioja. At its best, it combines a pleasing rusticity and directness with subtlety and sophistication, a pairing as hard to resist as its characteristic balance of tannin and acidity, dark berry-ish fruit and earthy, forest duff aromas and flavors. In addition, traditionally made Riojas seem to have the capacity to age effortlessly, a trait that, for someone who enjoys the character of mature wine as much as I do, makes Rioja a constant pleasure.

All those qualities seem to be the gift of the Tempranillo grape, the variety that is Rioja’s main component – in the case of this 2005 Viña Bosconia probably around 80%. Bosconia is one of Lopez de Heredia’s two reserva wines (the other is Viña Tondonia). It tends toward a fullness, almost a lushness, of style and mouth-feel. This bottle was perceptibly soft, and it accommodated itself beautifully to the dishes we rather unconventionally matched it with.

Viña Bosconia – indeed, most Rioja reservas – are usually paired with roast meats and assertive cheeses. We drank ours with an onion-sweet Spanish tortilla and with a luscious, rich braise of octopus, potato, and red bell pepper whose sauce was its own juices deepened in color and flavor by a generous infusion of pimentòn agridulce. That was a whole spectrum of flavors, yet every component of those dishes meshed wonderfully with this big, yet restrained red wine, and the interplay of all the flavors remained vivid and attention-grabbing from first bite to last.

Lopez de Heredia has been a pillar of Rioja wines from its foundation in 1877, and it still makes its wines in the time-honored Rioja manner. That means very long aging in large oak tanks – five years for Viña Bosconia – and then several years of bottle aging before release.

Reservas like Bosconia are made only in the best years: The vintage of Bosconia currently on the market is, I believe, 2006. Our bottle of ’05, although delightful, was nowhere near its full maturity, which I would guess is still 10 years in the future. I hope I can keep my hands off a few bottles long enough to taste them then. For that matter, I hope I’m still around to taste them then – and, oh yes: you too.

2 Responses to “One Fine Wine: Lopez de Heredia Rioja Viña Bosconia 2005”

  1. Jonathan Levine Says:

    Always liked this wine, but prefer the Tondonia.

    • Tom Maresca Says:

      I think both are excellent — just slightly different versions of Rioja because of the differing vineyards.

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