Hacienda Monasterio - Ribera del Duero 2020


Hacienda Monasterio has remained at the vanguard of the evolution of the DO of Ribera del Duero since the property’s founding in 1991, Hacienda Monasterio continues to innovate and seek new ways to make wines that embody the region’s potential for power combined with elegance and finesse. Guiding this evolution is Peter Sisseck, who joined the estate shortly after its inception in the early 1990s. While he has pushed the envelope in the DO with his own wine Pingus, he’s remained at the helm of Hacienda Monasterio: overseeing the purchase and planting of new vineyards, grafting over existing vines to the local Tempranillo, Tinto Fino, and incrementally improving vinifications by championing native fermentations, experimenting with whole clusters and employing larger 500L French oak barrels for aging.

The results of these changes are evident in the wines. While retaining the complex aromatics that are a signature of this terroir – think orange peel and black olive tapenade, recent vintages have shown ever more elegance and precision. As a result, wines that were once reticent and rewarding after some time in the cellar are immediately accessible and engaging upon release. Marking the changes at Hacienda Monasterio, Luis Gutiérrez noted in the Wine Advocate, “I tasted three breathtaking wines, starting with the 2011 Crianza, which is, year in, year out, one of the best Crianzas from Ribera del Duero.” It is a testament to the terroir of Hacienda Monasterio that throughout the evolution towards a more elegant style of winemaking, it still retains all of its power and intensity, deepened and enriched by greater finesse and complexity.”

All the wines at Hacienda Monasterio are based on Tempranillo. The Reservas are blended with a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon followed by aging in 500 L French oak barrels for 20 months. The Cosecha, in addition to Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, includes small percentages of Merlot and Malbec. It is aged for at least 12 months (more frequently, closer to 18 months) in neutral French oak barrels.

The trend in the cellar towards larger barrels and a decrease in the quantity of new oak is matched by a change in winemaking that incorporates a portion of whole clusters, native yeast fermentations, and more gentle maceration. The new approaches to fermentation and aging are yielding wines with greater aromatic complexity, more transparent flavors, and subtler tannins.

There is a change in the air at Hacienda Monasterio under winemaker Peter Sisseck who has declared the era of high alcohol over. The chalky soils where the vineyards of Hacienda Monasterio are located have no difficulty making powerful wines, but harnessing the terroir to create balanced wines requires a tremendous effort in the vineyard matching yields to vintage. Organic farming, followed by a strict selection of fruit, certainly helps. In the cellar, Peter has started employing increasingly higher proportions of stems, is moving towards a more gentle maceration, and is utilizing more larger and well-seasoned French oak barrels. The cuvée, formerly called Crianza, is a blend of Tempranillo with about 10-15% Cabernet Sauvignon and smaller portions of Merlot and Malbec.

"The 2020 Hacienda Monasterio shows what Sisseck calls a "neo-classical" style of Ribera, with more freshness and 14.5% alcohol, harvested early and with higher yields. And possibly because of the Cabernet in the blend (around 10%), which also includes some Merlot and Malbec, the wine has great freshness (pH is 3.5) and avoids some of the excesses from the past. So, higher yields, an earlier harvest and careful oaking resulted in a more elegant wine. To me, it goes back to the benchmark Hacienda Monasterio, which for me is the 1996. A triumph over the natural conditions of the year." - 94 points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate


Producer: Hacienda Monasterio

Country: Spain

Region: Castilla y León 

Varietal: Tempranillo

Appellation: Ribera del Duero

Vintage: 2020

Size: 750ml