Dominio del Aguila - Vinas Viejas Albillo 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.

Albillo is a catch-all name for a diverse collection of white grape varieties in Spain. Since the name derives from the Spanish word for white, Albillo can differ from region to region and can even be used for different varieties within a single D.O.! For example, in Ribera del Duero, several ancient varieties are called Albillo. Jorge makes it simple. He only selects Albillo with small clusters and a deep golden color when fully ripe to make his Blanco.

"One of Spain's greatest white wines, produced outside the Ribera del Duero Denominación de Origen for the time being, this is a field blend of Albillo Mayor with 5% of other varieties. Salty, stony and appealingly reductive, with some lovely struck match top notes, it has the concentration of its 100-year-old vines, bread, almond and citrus peel flavours and a chiselled finish. World class." - 98 Points, Tim Atkin MW

Producer: Dominio del Águila

Country: Spain

Region: Castilla y León

Varietal: Albillo

Appellation: Tierra de Castilla y León

Vintage: 2019

Size: 750ml