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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

More Than Pink: RIPA

Many years back at Esprit du Vin, Keith and I had a short discussion about whether or not we should sell the unique pink wine of Lopez de Heredia. We knew we loved it, but it was a quirky little beast that was released at about 10 years old, and even the most experienced wine lovers had probably never tasted anything like it. At the time, it was around $25 and we went for it. How could we pass up the opportunity to introduce our friends, families and dear customers to such vinous wonder? I'm not sure how much was available at the time, and I'm sure it was limited in some way, but it was certainly not allocated. We probably could have ordered a few cases.

Fast forward to 2018. It is next to impossible to find Lopez de Heredia rosado, and a friend is telling me he has found a great price for a bottle: about $100, whereas some merchants are charging up to $300. He is thinking about having some shipped from Germany. WHAT?!!

I'd heard that there would be a gap in availability with this wine, but I'd not realized there was such pent up demand. What happened? Lopez de Heredia does not make their rosado every year, and they release it at 10 years old. There was a gap of about 10 years between the release of the 2000 and 2008 vintages. What's more, Lopez de Heredia rosado is simply one of the world's most distinctive wines, an assertive beauty that transcends its hue, and demands that the world treat it as one of the greats. Shouldn't have been so surprising that things got a little crazy.

I can't offer Lopez de Heredia rosado today. I'm pretty sure I'll never be able to offer it to you. I also didn't think I would ever be able to offer you something so close.

José Luis Ripa Sáenz de Navarrete Rioja RIPA Vino Rosado 2017 - $35

Aromas of fresh orange, kirsch, bright strawberry and raspberry candy, airy vanilla, a little resinous herbs, fresh squash, Turkish delight, camphor.... Medium to full-bodied, beautiful satin textured tannins grip lightly, it is engaging and dynamic on the palate, the interplay of flavors is spectacular: candied red fruit and pithy orange, green herbs and spice, flowers and stones. The beautiful finish features integrated oak spice, ripe citrus, ethereal herbal tones, an intense raspberry sorbet-like note, and an intricate textural complex from subtle tannins and silky glycerin. Amazing pink wine. It is all the more interesting because of who makes it, José Luis Ripa Sáenz de Navarrete, husband of María José López de Heredia. One starts to wonder what López de Heredia rosado gran reserva would taste like if it was released as a crianza. In any case, this fabulous pink wine will be worth following at least a few more years. Bravo!

This is super limited. Only 40 cases came to the USA, and only 6 cases to MA. Do NOT think of it as summer juice. It is not that kind of pink wine. Drink one now with some braised pork belly, spicy short ribs or cherry glazed roast duck.

... while we're at it, we should mention that we have a few bottles of red Lopez de Heredia in stock. They are the arch-traditionalist masters of Rioja, and if you've never tried their wines, you should consider doing so soon.

Vina Tondonia Reserva 2008 - $60

Vina Tondonia Reserva 2007 1.5L magnum - $130

Vina Bosconia Reserva 2009 - $48

Please send an email to to place your orders or inquiries.


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