Wine Advocate 95
When I tasted it, the 2016 Aalto had already been blended and taken out of the barrels, waiting to be bottled in a couple of weeks. It's still young and tender, with peachy aromas, a little creamy and with a soft palate where the tannins are fine-grained. In 2016, they used more vineyards, grapes from their own plots and others purchased from suppliers. They expect to fill some 280,000 bottles in late June 2018. 2016 was a higher-yielding year that provided fresh and balanced wines. It should age nicely.
Jeb Dunnuck 94
Not far off the more limited production cuve, the 2016 Aalto is another brilliant wine from this estate and is all Tempranillo brought up in 50 new oak. This ripe, sexy wine delivers loads of crme de cassis, vanilla, dried flowers, and spice box notes, with just a hint of background oak. Pure, incredibly well balanced, with sweet tannins, and medium to full body, its going to benefit from a year or two in bottle and keep for 15 to 20 years.
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Mariano García is considered to be one of the most experienced vintners in the world. Together with Javier Zaccagnini, who topped off 26 years of managerial practice with an MBA, formed a perfect synergy with the one ultimate goal: to produce one of the best red wines in the world. With this they created Aalto Bodegas y Viñedos in 1999, and although it is a young winery, it implements rather traditional methods in its winemaking practice. Grapes are harvested entirely manually, and organic winegrowing principles are rigorously followed. The winery, named after the famous Finish architect Alvar Aalto, lies in the heart of the Ribera del Duero region, approximately 250 km north of Madrid with vineyards spread out over the hillsides. The location paints a beautiful backdrop consisting of seven villages surrounding Quintanilla de Arriba, where the Aalto Bodegas owners built a huge winery complex on a plot expanding across 15 hectares.
Harvested grapes are collected into plastic boxes, which are immediately transported to the winery, where they are carefully sorted on a conveyor belt into several classes according to their quality. After the destemming stage, fermentation occurs in custom-made cone-shaped stainless-steel barrels. A portion of the grapes undergo malolactic fermentation in American oak barrels and then all wine is moved into French oak barrels for a 20 to 24-month long fermentation period. The harvest from each individual vineyard is separated, and Mariano decides the ratio in the final mixture of the wines shortly before being bottled. The wine is not filtered after fermentation.
Aalto wine is one of the most desired and internationalized wines from the Ribera del Duero region, ranking as one of the best wineries in the world. It has a color of black cherries with violet edges – an intense bouquet of fresh fruit with undertones of noble wood, vanilla, spices, chocolate, coffee, liquorice, smoke and basil. Aalto's vines and terroir produce really big wines with amazing balance, perfect color and astonishing taste with extremely long tail, creating a really memorable and unforgettable experience for all who indulge.