Saturday, December 28, 2013

the flaws in us all

2001 R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva | DOC Rioja

There is a lot of wine being made in this world. But what are the treasures? Who are the standard-bearers of history and tradition, of heritage and truth? This is one of them. Not much more needs to be said about this producer. But even with all the literature, even with all the column space devoted to it, how come this wine still has a sense of mystery, of excitement, of wisdom? There's still something in there that we can't quite describe, can't quite wrap our minds around. A deeper meaning than what we can understand at the moment.

Maybe what it is is what it isn't. This isn't a technically perfect wine. It's always a bit oxidized, there's always a slight bit of volatile acidity, in some vintages the brett shows a bit more ... but that's so utterly human, isn't it. The flaws in all of us are what makes us unique and worth getting to know. There will always be those who proclaim perfection, and there will always be us against it. There is no 'better' or 'worse' in wine, just like in people. There's only different. And if we can understand that and accept it - well, that's when true understanding of wine (and people) begin.

I'll never say a bad word against Lopez de Heredia. Elegant, ethereal wines, still with grip and tension, but fully mature. Strawberries and cream, that vibrant red fruit with the oak oxidation. At once fragile and sinewy. A real beauty. You know, one of the biggest things I've changed about myself coming here to IESE is to never judge people on first impressions. So many times, I've met people and thought damn, I have no intention of ever talking to that person again. But if I really talk to them - I mean really talk to them - you suddenly realize that these are amazing people, that I have quite a lot in common with, and who I quite enjoy spending time with. If only we can apply the same to wine.


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