I will never forget my Vina Gravonia vertical tasting evening with Maria-Jose and Jose Luis in November 2018. Beforehand, Jose Luis had apologised that Maria-Jose would unfortunately have to go to Hong Kong and would not be attending the tasting with him. Fair enough, they are one of the most high demand power wine couples in the world. So when the evening eventually arrived, it was an extra wonderful surprise for Maria-Jose to arrive, announcing her schedule had changed. This augured well for an exciting evening.
One of the most interesting points taken from the evening was that Vina Gravonia blanco, while not one of their most expensive wines, is certainly one of their rarest, especially the old vintages, as it is the only wine in the Tondonia range that the estate does not really hold back any archive stock. So for Maria-Jose to taste older back vintage verticals is quite a true rarity.
So her advice was buy all you can and cellar them as they can age equally as well as many Reserva or Gran Reserva whites! After this evening, the Vina Gravonia earned an even more special place in my icon ranks and remains one of my favourite food whites.
Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Vina Gravonia 2011 Rioja Blanco, 12.5% Abv.
This is yet another wonderful Vina Gravonia white Rioja. It just seems this estate can do no wrong. Coming from a warmer year with lower yields, the wine still retains its hallmark freshness, saline dried orange peel zest and an incredibly complex aromatic array of crushed almonds and walnuts, waxy lemon peel, oxidative rancio notes, dusty grey slate minerality, chamomile and a faint kerosene touch. The palate is fairly taut and nutty, showing a fine textural polish, a bitter saline nutty melange, hints of brine, sherry, honey, bruised yellow orchard fruits and a piquant finish of stony bitter orange. Perhaps not quite as intense or piercing as some previous vintage expressions, this 2011 is nevertheless a slightly more serious, austere, mineral driven food focused wine that should continue to develop further mouth-watering complexity over the next 8 to 12+ years. Buy every bottle you can find!
(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)