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Nov 6, 2010 05:58 PM

1977 Heredia Gran Reserva -- pairing ideas?

Hi all. Longtime lurker here with a first post.

I recently brought back from Spain a 1977 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva. I love their whites and roses more than the reds, typically, but I'm still pretty interested in what this will have going on.

I'd like to throw together a meal around it. Pork, lamb or duck, I'm thinking as a main. Would love some ideas on first course, sides, etc. Especially if people know of anything that's almost guaranteed to clash with old Riojas, I'd appreciate any warnings.

And the other big question: I expect I'll want to decant this, but for how long? I'll taste as I go, too. This was in a three-pack for the bodega's anniversary.

I've got Robuchon, Alinea, other basic cookbooks. Not super worried about execution/ambition level on the cooking, but I won't be busting out an immersion circulator or any meat glue.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. My experience with older Riojas (mostly CUNE, a different maker admittedly and Murrieta) is that they are pretty resilient. When I've decanted them (only because of sediment), they have changed markedly within one hour--and worth tasting throughout, so I wouldn't advise decanting and
    leaving it...

    I think old line Riojas pair best with simply prepared "flesh" with minimum saucier-fuss...(I have also paired it with Chinook salmon, roasted.) To get your taste-buds ready, include some Manchego cheese as an appetizer...

    1. I wouldn't decant it. I'll just sit the bottle up and open for 30 minutes to an hour.
      I've had a few old Tondonia and Bosconia GRs and never found them to be so big to warrant robust and bold-flavored foods. I have paired them with varied dishes like roasted pork-belly and poached salmon and they were all complementary.

      1. I would also concur with RCC that decanting is not advisable. I work, in fact, with the importer and California distributor, and have been to the estate and know Maria José, and she herself discourages decanting the wines.

        I take it this is a red?

        I would advise lamb prepared simply.

        1 Reply
        1. re: georgempavlov

          I was about to suggest the same things, including the lamb -- possibly grilled chops.

        2. Thanks for the tips, all. I'll see if I can recreate a roast lamb leg I had in Zaragoza, maybe. It was unreal. And thanks for warning me off decanting.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ejswanso

            Lamb would have been my suggestion too. I would decant for sediment immediately before service, but it won't be a big deal if you don't.

            1. re: ejswanso

              I am loathe to disagree with Maria Jose - one of my wine world heroes - but even she conceded on Wine Berserkers that her wines tend to really start blooming after about 30 minutes of air. I prefer to briefly decant LdH wines for aeration when I have the time; otherwise, I just drink that first glass really, really slowly.

              In fact, I like to drink that first glass slowly and WITHOUT food regardless, as these wines are as marvelous by themselves as with food. And after many bottles over the years (though mostly blancos and rosados), I really start to love them about an hour or two in.

              I've never had their 1977 Tondonia tinto, so my advice would be to serve it ... with me! Short of that, I'd pair it much like I'd pair a burgundy but with an emphasis on Spanish flavorings. I think it would be wonderful with a mild lamb dish. Honestly, so long as the flavors aren't overwhelming, these wines play well with all foods.