The pinnacle of Dominio del Aguila's red winemaking. The fruit for this Reserva comes from some of the oldest vines in the village of La Aguilera, many over 100 years old and some even pre-phylloxera. After careful hand picking, the wines are fermented slowly in a cool cellar before ageing for 35 months in old barrels. The resulting wine is incredibly refined, but still with true Ribera del Duero character. A truly exceptional wine.
2017 was a low-yielding year, so I also tasted the 2018 Reserva, their flagship red wine that wants to be a representation of the village of La Aguilera—fine, serious and elegant. It's 95% Tempranillo with the remaining grapes found interplanted in their oldest vineyards at an average of 880 meters in altitude on limestone, clay and sandy soils. All the clusters ferment together with indigenous yeasts in concrete, where they are foot trodden, and malolactic was carried out very slowly (11 months) in oak barrels where the wine matured for a total of 27 months. It has a somewhat shy nose but is very elegant. The wine was recently bottled, and that can make it a little closed and subtle, and it clearly improves with air as it sits in the glass. It's still young, and the palate reveals lots of energy; the flavors are very pure and the wine precise and delineated. The tannins are very fine and provide for a chalky texture and an almost salty twist in the finish. This is very in line with the 2016. 15,250 bottle and 101 magnums produced. It was bottled in February 2021.
Jorge Monzón is shaking up the way Ribera del Duero’s wines are seen. Where many are rich, ripe and bold, his are elegant, restrained and extremely terroir expressive. Dominio del Águila was set up in 2010 by Jorge and partner Isabel Rodero, in the village of La Aguilera. It may be a fairly new project in Ribera, but he has some pretty impressive experience under his belt.
Jorge studied viticulture in Bordeaux and Burgundy, his first position was at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, before moving to Spain where he worked a year at Vega Sicilia. While working with Bodegas Arzuaga-Navarro, he identified some old vineyards in the region, whose fruit was at that time sold ending up in the best cuvées of several top producers. Jorge bought the sites and started making wine from these exceptional old vineyards. Some of the vineyards are over 100 years old, mainly of Tempranillo, with some Blanca del País, Bobal, Garnacha, Albillo and Tempranillo Gris, all are farmed following organic and biodynamic methods.
Their philosophy, and the resulting wines, demonstrate the harmony between traditional and modern technical knowledge. ‘Our goal is to make pure and fine wines... which are able to age for a long time, but that can also be enjoyed at any time’. Their wines show extraordinary complexity – it’s intriguing to think how these will age long term.