Ribera del Duero wine has been able to create a solid and trustworthy image in a very short time, despite the fact that the actual history of red wine in this region is relatively young.
Vertical tasting of Dominio del Aguila Albillo Viñas Viejas
The trajectory of Jorge Monzón and his family project together with his wife Isabel Rodero in Dominio del Águila is an example of excellence and good work since its first harvest. It is not only in the field of wine, few know that they have also "got their hands on" craft beer and for years they have been brewing a beer called Milagritos in the "Ale" style without filtering and with refermentation in the bottle of quite a good level, although this would deserve a different chapter...
Returning to the field that concerns us, few wineries are capable of reaching such a high level of quality in such a short space of time. However, it is not impossible, and his example serves to materialise something almost unheard of.
Back in 2012 Jorge called to show us the small project he was creating in his village, La Aguilera, in one of the old wineries that are dug out by hard labour on the outskirts of the village. When we tasted the wine there for the first time, which was still in barrel, and had been there for more than 15 months, it was already a breath of freshness, smoothness and with many fruity notes, something we had never seen before in Ribera del Duero and even less in a wine with so many months of ageing. The project was solid, based on very good vineyards, and it brought something that the DO has always lacked, diversity and freshness, so there was no hesitation on our part in encouraging it to continue along this path.
Dominio del Águila officially landed in the Peñín Guide for the first time in 2014 (Peñín Guide 2015), with three wines that offered a different and personal vision of Ribera del Duero. Its Dominio del Águila Reserva 2010, obtained no less than 96 points in its debut in the guide and its claret, a claret, 90 points and this same claret tasted with two years in bottle 93 points. Just a few years later a new wine was born, a white wine from Ribera del Duero, labelled as a table wine since it was not yet allowed to bottle white wines with the denomination of origin label. This Dominio del Águila white wine 2012, became the Revelation Wine 2017 as it opened the debate with a gorgeous wine about whether Ribera del Duero could say something in the world of white wines. Well, it has.
On our last visit to Ribera del Duero, we stopped at this small winery to see the progress of this small 'vigneron' and to chat about the conception that its creator has of wine. Jorge gave us a vertical tasting of all the vintages of his white wine so that we could check the potential of the Albillo from the Ribera del Duero, something that we were able to see two years ago with the 2007 Albillo from Arzuaga (which he also made at the winery).
Time in the wine, the obsession of the house
If we have learned anything from Jorge Monzón since his beginnings, it is how important it is for him that the wine is able to stand the test of time. He is convinced that a great wine is a great wine when its style, strength and ability to represent its origin are maintained over the years as if it were a time capsule, which is why this vertical tasting that he was kind enough to offer us was so important, with one of the most important wines of his career: the albillo mayor.
Dominio del Águila 2012 (97 points): this was the first vintage of this white wine, a reference that vindicated the importance of the albillo mayor as the backbone of white wines in Ribera del Duero, a category that was not allowed by the Denominación de Origen at that time. Jorge Monzón was not the only one. Until then, several producers, especially Ermita del Conde, originally advised by Alfonso and Roberto from Envinate, had worked with this grape, but the prominence he gave to these wines with this first bottling, a winery that bottled its wines as Ribera del Duero, was a novelty and a demonstration of the great things that this grape could bring to the D.O. if it was accepted at some point. In this first vintage we find the ageing has a greater protagonism, its relationship with the passage of time. Something that is astonishing in this variety and this way of winemaking, worthy of other top regions in the world. Its golden colour is evidence of its ageing. Aromatically we see tertiary nuances closely linked to the cask, a style .
Dominio del Águila 2014 (98 points): visually we enter a line of wine with evident signs of evolution through a more yellow/golden colour. The aromas also let us see the effects of the wine's relationship with oxygen, with aromas that move away from freshness to dive into dried fruits, dried flowers. This 2014 vintage has a very unique oily note on the palate and maintains its mineral DNA, an essence that it does not lose in any of its vintages despite the differences in style, which are evident from 2014 onwards. This vintage does not reach 2000 bottles. It is in a great moment and is the zenith of Dominio del Águila's whites due to its complexity and breadth of expression.
Dominio del Águila 2015 (97 points): From this vintage onwards we can appreciate a stylistic change in the winemaking process. The barrel ageing becomes more refined and the acidity in the wine becomes the main theme of each vintage. From this vintage onwards, we can appreciate how the tightness and sharper sensations come into play, a pattern that will continue to grow as the vintages go by. We are entering a vintage where time has already allowed the wine to explore other aromas. We are approaching an oily wine, one of those with a slight hint of hydrocarbons accompanied by evident notes of its barrel ageing through a very subtle fine cocoa. The palate is complex and lengthy, acidity and maturity coexist in perfect harmony and promise a wine with a long lifespan. Of this vintage, 2985 bottles were produced.
Dominio del Águila 2016 (95 points): A vintage that perfectly combines the Ribera del Duero character and the Monzón style, as it has the flavour and intensity of the area but with an elegant and fine style. Few producers can combine these two supposedly antagonistic characters, finesse and intensity, but this wine is a good example that it is possible to combine these two concepts. There are aromas of phosphorus and a very interesting mineral background. 4,885 bottles were produced from this vintage.
Dominio del Águila 2017 (94 points): this is a more mature wine. It shows a chalky character. It is fresh, but with riper fruit both on the nose and on the palate. Interesting citrus aromas, such as lemon. The wood is slightly more present on the nose, so it still needs to be tamed a little to find its balance. More than 3,800 bottles of this vintage were made.
Dominio del Águila 2018 (94 points): despite having been bottled for three months, which is nothing for a wine of this type, it shows some very interesting reductive aromas of phosphorus. The wine is very fresh and citric, it enters the mouth like an arrow and then slowly opens up on the palate. It is a wine with vivid notes of its ageing, through sweet spices. They have bottled 4000 bottles of this wine, and we believe it will be a great vintage with true sharpness.