Scoring the perfect 100-Points from the Wine Advocate, this wine has reached legendary status as being one of Spain's greatest.
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The youth, freshness, balance and harmony of the 2016 Peñas Aladas Gran Reserva is gobsmacking. The wine is a little shy, insinuating, reticent and a little closed, and it feels younger than it is. It comes from a collection of small plots of some of the oldest vines in the village of La Aguilera in the lieu-dit, or "paraje," that names the wine, in a small valley surrounded by pine, holm and juniper trees, where there is a cold draft of air and the temperature is lower than in the rest of the village. The soils are sandy and intermixed with clay on a marl mother rock. The plants are mostly Tempranillo, but as they are very old vines, there's always a field blend of other varieties—Albillo Mayor, Monastrell, Garnacha, Bobal and Cariñena—all fermented together with full clusters that were foot trodden in concrete vats and indigenous yeasts. Malolactic was in barrel and lasted for 11 months, while the élevage was extended to a total of 55 months (almost five years!). After all this time in barrels, the wine is not oaky at all; it's floral and perfumed, elegant, nuanced and layered. The texture is silky, and it's medium-bodied, with moderate ripeness, 14% alcohol and very good freshness denoted by a pH of 3.41. It has fine tannins that make it nicely textured and fine-boned, with subtle minerality. This should be veeeeeery long lived, as it has the stuffing, all the ingredients and the balance between them to make old bones. Amazing juice. 3,591 bottles and 51 magnums were filled in April 2021.
Jorge Monzon Pascual without knowing a word of French went knocking on the doors of Domaine La Romanée-Conti managing to convince them to take him on as an intern. This time was incredibly valuable for Jorge as he learned how a truly world-class winery operates both in a practical sense and philosophical one. A little later on, Jorge started working at Spain's legendary Vega Sicilia, where he was predominantly working to create a white version of the 'Unico'.
In 2010 Jorge along with his wife Isabel launched Dominio Del Aguila after purchasing some incredibly old parcels of Tempranillo which were in danger of being ripped up and replaced by more fashional grape types like Cabernet Sauvignon. Jorge's teachings at Domaine La Romanée-Conti (DRC) had taught him to do things the old way, and he felt that these older vineyards would yield better grapes and create finer wines. The average vine age ranges from 60-150+ years, which is absolutely incredible as some vineyard sites are pre-phylloxera! Jorge stuck to his teachings from DRC and does everything the traditional way, foot treading grapes, fermenting in whole clusters, very late malolactic fermentation whilst still in the barrel, and maturing the wines slowly in very cold under ground cellars.
In just a few years, Jorge and Isabel have cemented themselves as one of the leading fine wine producers in Ribera del Duero, but also as one of the top wineries in Spain. Their rose is one of the most unique we've seen being a 'clarete' with some tannin and structure behind it. Their white wine is rarer than a Le Montrachet to find and their reds are simply mind-blowing at any level. We can't recommend their wines highly enough!