Monday, March 31, 2008

2004 Aalto

To celebrate the end of the Spanish Wine Educator's Course, I decided to open one of my higher-end bottles of Spanish wine, the 2004 Aalto from the Ribera del Duero region.

The Aalto winery was founded in 1998 by Mariano Garcia, a former top wine maker at the famed Vega Sicilia Winery, and Javier Zaccagnini, the former President of the governing body of the Ribera del Duero AOC. They produced their first vintage in 1999. They own about 32 hectares of vineyards, scattered through three different sub-zones of Ribera del Duero, of old vine Tempranillo.

Mariano Garcia designed the 15,000 liter, stainless steel fermentation tanks. Their original conical shape comes from Mariano’s desire to control and maneuver the cap of the must during the remouage. Each vineyard is harvested, vinified, and aged separately before assemblage just prior to bottling. The wine is unfiltered. The wine is aged in French oak, 60% new, though some of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in new American oak.

The 2004 Aalto ($50) comes from a very good vintage in Spain. This wine has an alcohol content of 15%. It has an inky red color and an enticing nose of blueberry and blackberry with a touch of spice. It is a big, bold wine with plenty of dark fruit, spice, vanilla and leather. There is much complexity in its flavors and it has a very long, lingering finish. A definite powerhouse that I paired with steak. This wine definitely needs such a pairing and I savored every drop of it. It is definitely a wine that will age well for a number of years. But that also was very enjoyable now. A definite Drink & Buy recommendation.

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