2001 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Rioja Reserva (Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles…)
Spain's Rioja region produces some of the best red wines in the world. And most have a terrific price-quality ratio. That holds even for some of the most famous wines, like López de Heredia's Viña Tondonia Reserva Rioja. The 2001 is the current release from the family-run winery that dates back 131 years and three generations.
The blend is 75% Tempranillo with 15% Garnacha, the rest made up of Graciano and Mazuelo grapes. Open a bottle a half hour or so before you want to drink it to allow the bouquet of dark berries, chocolate and sweet spices to fully develop. The flavors are complex, the texture silky, with soft sweet tannins. The 2001 is the current release, which means this reserva is mature enough to drink now with pleasure, though it still has many years ahead of it.
Region: Rioja, Spain
Price: $40 to $44.
Style: Chiseled and elegant
What it goes with: Roast duck or pork, grilled chops, braised dishes
Where to find it: K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463, http://www.klwines.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, http://www.winex.com; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com.