Dominio del Aguila - Ribera del Duero Reserva 2018
As a young student of oenology, Jorge Monzón traveled to Burgundy and despite not speaking a word of French nor having any recommendations let alone experience, he convinced Domaine La Romanée-Conti to take him on as an intern. His eagerness and desire to learn led him to shadowing maître de chai, Bernard Noblet, observing all the steps he took to create the famed wines of this historic Domaine.
Returning to Ribera del Duero, and his hometown of La Aguilera, Jorge worked a couple of years at Vega Sicilia before becoming technical director at Arzuaga-Navarro. While working for others, Jorge began purchasing old vineyards around La Aguilera – parcels in danger of being ripped up and replaced with more productive clones of Tempranillo as well as “fashionable” Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. These undesirable vineyards were ancient, unproductive massale selections of Tempranillo mixed with a diverse range of other varieties including a high proportion of white grapes – all “useless” in a region that prized extraction, production and the “ameliorating” contribution made by international varieties.
Together with his wife, Isabel Rodero, Jorge founded Dominio del Águila in 2010. Farming is certified organic and Isabel, who is an architect, supervised the renovation of three ancient cellars dating to the 15th century dug deep into the bedrock under the village. Natural yeast, whole cluster co-fermentations are the first step in the process with pigeage done by foot. After primary fermentation the wines are placed in oak barrels for aging in their cold, subterranean cellars ensure that the evolution of their wines proceeds slowly.
The Reserva is a wine made from the oldest vines near the village of Aguilera. Here the vineyards are mainly Tempranillo, but like old vines the world over, many other varieties, red and white, are mixed in. Rather than separate these varieties, Jorge feels that a true representation of these sites is best captured by co-fermenting them. This cuvée sees nearly three years in barrel – half of that time waiting for the malolactic fermentation to finish! This slow elevage results in a wine with remarkable poise and complexity.
"2017 was a low-yielding year, so I also tasted the 2018 Reserva, their flagship red wine that wants to be a representation of the village of La Aguilera—fine, serious and elegant. It's 95% Tempranillo with the remaining grapes found interplanted in their oldest vineyards at an average of 880 meters in altitude on limestone, clay and sandy soils. All the clusters ferment together with indigenous yeasts in concrete, where they are foot trodden, and malolactic was carried out very slowly (11 months) in oak barrels where the wine matured for a total of 27 months. It has a somewhat shy nose but is very elegant. The wine was recently bottled, and that can make it a little closed and subtle, and it clearly improves with air as it sits in the glass. It's still young, and the palate reveals lots of energy; the flavors are very pure and the wine precise and delineated. The tannins are very fine and provide for a chalky texture and an almost salty twist in the finish. This is very in line with the 2016. 15,250 bottle and 101 magnums produced. It was bottled in February 2021." - 97 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Producer: Dominio del Águila
Region: Castilla y León
Varietal: Tempranillo, Albillo, Garnacha, Bobal
Appellation: Ribera del Duero
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