Dominio del Aguila - Ribera del Duero Reserva 2019


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.

"2019 was a warm and dry low-yielding year, somewhat similar to 2015, and the 2019 Reserva could be the modern version of the 2015—a round, lush and approachable Reserva that is perfumed and fruit-driven, with spices in the background. It's a hedonist cuvée of 95% Tempranillo and 5% other grapes from some of the oldest grapes in the village. It fermented in concrete with indigenous yeasts followed by a slow malolactic in 228-liter French oak barrels, mostly used, where the wine matured for 35 months. It reveals very good integration of the oak that is neatly folded into the wine. It shows the tannic structure of the 2019 vintage. 23,875 bottles and 430 magnums produced. It was bottled in September 2022." - 96 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Producer: Dominio del Águila

Country: Spain

Region: Castilla y León

Varietal: Tempranillo, Albillo, Garnacha, Bobal

Appellation: Ribera del Duero

Vintage: 2019

Size: 750ml