2019 Dominio del Aguila, Reserva, Ribera del Duero, Spain
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-litre French oak barrels, mainly used, where the wine matured for 35 months. It reveals very good integration of the neatly folded oak into the wine. It shows the tannic structure of the 2019 vintage. 23,875 bottles and 430 magnums were produced. It was bottled in September 2022.
Drink 2024 - 2031
Luis Gutiérrez, Wine Advocate (January 2023)
About this WINE
Dominio del Aguila
Ribera del Duero
In the last 30 years, Ribera del Duero has emerged from almost nowhere to challenge Rioja for the crown of Spain's greatest wine region. Once known only as the home of Vega Sicilia it now boasts numerous bodegas of outstanding quality like Cillar de Silos, Alión and Hacienda Monasterio. Ribera del Duero was granted its DO status in 1982, at a time when only nine bodegas were operating there, yet today it has over 200 wineries and more than 20,000 hectares of vines. Most of Ribera del Duero's production is red, with only a modest quantity of rosado produced. No white wines are allowed under the DO.
Ribera del Duero owes its success to a combination of factors: firstly, its terroir of schistous sub-soil bears remarkable similarity to other famous winemaking regions such as the Douro and Priorat. Secondly, its microclimate, with its high altitude, hot days and cool nights (a phenomenon known as “diurnal variation”), ensures ripeness while preserving the vivacity of the fruit, aromatic flavours and refreshing acidity.
Thirdly, it has been blessed with an exceptional native grape, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto del País or Tinto Fino). This yields superb, complex red wines that are delicious when young but which also have the capacity to age into magnificent Gran Reservas. Finally, the immense influence of its winemakers has been key – historically, of course, Vega Sicilia, but more recently Peter Sisseck (Hacienda Monasterio) and the indefatigable Aragón family of Cillar de Silos.
The same DO rules govern Ribera's barrel-aged styles as for Rioja: Crianzas are aged for two years before release with at least a year in oak barrels; Reservas must be three years old with at least a year spent in oak; and, finally, Gran Reservas must be five years old before going on sale, with two years spent in barrel. The young (joven) unoaked red wines, called Roble, tend to boast a moreish, vibrant, bramble fruit while the best oak-aged styles of Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva show intense, generous fruit, overlaid with notes of vanilla and sweet spice, and wrapped up in polished, elegant tannins.
Recommended producers: Vega Sicilia (including Alión), Cillar de Silos, Hacienda Monasterio
A high quality red wine grape that is grown all over Spain except in the hot South - it is known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Valdepenas and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. Its spiritual home is in Rioja and Navarra where it constitutes around 70% of most red blends.
Tempranillo-based wines tend to have a spicy, herbal, tobacco-like character accompanied by ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits. It produces fresh, vibrantly fruit driven "jovenes" meant for drinking young. However Tempranillo really comes into its own when oak aged, as with the top Riojas where its flavours seem to harmonise perfectly with both French and American oak, producing rich, powerful and concentrated wines which can be extraordinarily long-lived.
In Ribera del Duero it generally sees less oak - the exception being Vega Sicilia where it is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and then aged for an astonishing 7 years in oak and is unquestionably one of the world`s greatest wines.
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Médoc-esque gravelly undertones laid the foundations for layered sweet spice, smoke and liquorice. Very attractive top notes of heady incense, black raspberry, and cherry compote, with floral hints and a slight menthol lift. Expansive on the front palate, with the wealth of warm climate fruit coming to the fore before being checked by tart acidity and grippy tannins, with a savoury mineral finish.
Blend: 95% Tempranillo, 5% Garnacha, Bobal and Albillo
Drink 2027 – 2037
Tom Leigh, Account Manager, Berry Bros. & Rudd (May 2023)
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