2015 Dominio del Aguila Reserva (750ml)

From Ribera del Duero, Castilla y Leon, Spain

B-21 Top Recommendation
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Jorge Monzon landed a walk-in gig at Domaine Romanee-Conti back in 2002. Why not start at the top? From Spain's Ribero del Duero region, Jorge didn't yet know French, but was studying enology and knew this was to be his life's oeuvre. The folks at DRC got that right. After spending an enviable two years with Bernard Noblet, DRC's cellar master, Jorge returned home to Ribero del Duero and with highest recommendation began work at yet another of the world's top wine addresses, Vega Sicilia. A year later he was offered a position as Technical Director at neighboring winery Arzuaga. During Jorge's decade at Arzuaga, he quietly began buying up small plots of very old vines in his hometown of Aguilera, in the district of Aranda de Duero. By 2013, his old-vine acquisitions had become his full-time vocation, and the beginning of Dominio del Aguila. With a treasure trove of old vines, everything is very traditional at Dominio del Aguila. Take Clarete, a traditional bend of red and white grapes that could be considered a Rose, but has the structure of a red wine but develops the aromatics of a white as it ages. Along with the rare Rose of Lopez de Heredia, Jorge's Clarete is the finest "pink" wine from Spain. The flagship of Dominio del Aguila is the Reserva, among the most intriguing wines of Spain today, reminiscent of the extraordinary blockbusters produced by Alejandro Fernadez at Pesquera in the late 1980s and 1990s.


I tasted two very different vintages of the red Reserva bottling, the warmer and riper 2015 Reserva and the cooler 2016. This 2015, despite the natural conditions of the year has managed to keep moderate alcohol and good freshness, possibly with the aid of old vines and surely through a lot of work in the vineyards. All their vineyards are organically farmed (now certified), and the wines ferment with indigenous yeasts and nothing is added or taken out, as they only use a minimal dose of sulfur. Even a red from a warm year like this took nine months to finish fermentation, so the vinification and aging is very slow. It matured in oak barrels for 35 months. This is a ripe and powerful year, with more rusticity and a different texture from the 2016 I tasted next to it. It's very tasty and supple, with chalky, slightly dusty tannins. This should polish those edges with some more time in bottle. 8,425 bottles and 319 magnums were filled in September 2018.

95 points, Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (Issue # 246 - Dec 2019)


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