100% Tinto Fino fermented and aged in 1/5 new oak, of which 60% is French and the rest American, bottled in January 2012, showing a gorgeous colour, a deep dark core leading to bright ruby red at the edges. Immediately inviting notes of ripe wild strawberries, plums, cacao and dark chocolate soar from the glass, very svelte on the palate; perfectly integrated oak and fruit tannins and just a lovely balance. So drinkable! Ripe, harmonious and silky with a long, and ultimately beautifully fresh, finish.
Now with twenty vintages under their belts and a highly detailed understanding of the scores of parcels of old vines they own, Aalto has well and truly established itself as one of the great wines of both Ribera del Duero and Spain in general. It is hardly surprising given that it was established in 1999 as a collaboration between Javier Zaccagnini and Mariano Garcia, the former an ex-director of Ribera’s Consejo Regulador, the latter winemaker at Vega Sicilia for 30 years. In their state-of-the-art, gravity fed winery the team receive the multiple plots in refrigerated rooms for sorting and de-stemming before parcel by parcel vinification down below. Ageing takes place in barriques with a selection of the finest plots, generally with a “heart” of wine from the great village of La Horra, being selected to make Aalto PS (Pagos Seleccionados). The straight cuvee of Aalto tends to drink very well on release, the PS often requiring more like six to ten years to show its full potential. Aalto now hails from seven different villages across the region with vineyards averaging 40-80 years of age. Over the years, the proportion of new oak and time in barrel has reduced to around 50%, purely French, and just 16-18 months before bottling. Tender tannins, vibrant acidities, and deep black fruit and coffee notes typify this beautifully sleek, glossy Ribera del Duero. In 2018 Javier Zaccagnini left Aalto for pastures new, handing over to Eduardo Ferrin who becomes Managing Director, while Mariano Garcia remains in place as head of the winemaking team.