Robert Parker – 93
The 2009 Reserva Especial usually contains about one fourth of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that are blended with the Tempranillo. It’s only produced when they have lots of wine that they think have a different personality and are worth bottling separately. In the warm, ripe 2011, it was 22% Cabernet, all of it from their slope, head-pruned vineyards planted 25 years ago on chalky soils at 800 meters altitude in the vicinity of Pesquera de Duero, one of the most famous wine villages in the Valladolid part of Ribera del Duero. The grapes were fermented with indigenous yeast with 6% full-clusters. Malolactic fermentation was carried out in barriques and the wine aged for 20 months in new and French oak barrels. 2009 is a vintage that compares with 1995 ” powerful and ripe. This Reserva Especial shows a big compromise between power and elegance, it’s ripe and full, but within very good harmony. The palate is full-bodied, a little austere, with plenty of tannins, and I can still feel the barrel a little. This is still young and unevolved, and should age well, but I feel it will ripen faster than 2010. Only 5,800 bottles were produced. Drink 2014-2020. Hacienda Monasterio is the day job of Peter ‘Pingus’ Sisseck. He arrived in 1990 after he finished working with his uncle Peter Vinding-Diers in Bordeaux and he had a little time before going to California to work for Ridge. So he was there to fill a few months. The vineyards for Hacienda Monasterio had been recently planted, but only the American rootstocks had been done, so he managed to get some plant material from Vega Sicilia and from another old vineyard in Roa to plant. He had no idea he’d stay, but the finca (estate) was sold to some investors in December and in April they started building the winery. During the first three years they had to buy grapes while their plants matured. In 1993 and 1994 he started thinking of his own project Pingus, at around the same time when Hacienda Monasterio started using its own grapes for their wines. 1995 was the first vintage produced 100% with their own grapes ” a blend that was quite similar to what they had in Vega Sicilia. After some time he realized Merlot does not really work there (it works perhaps one year in ten, they did a varietal wine, Kempis in 1999 that is fantastic) and they are in the process of replacing it. Sisseck feels the vineyard finally came of age at around 2007-2008 when the wines has seen great improvement. He’s seen the vineyard grow and mature and seen the different phases: the four years, the 12, and when the plants are 20 years. They have recently bought more land that was touching the original vineyards, because Hacienda Monasterio is a single-vineyard wine and they want to keep that way. Importer: Eric Solomon, European Cellars, Charlotte, NC; tel. (704) 358-1565
Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020
Vinous – 94
(78% tempranillo and 22% cabernet sauvignon; aged for 20 months in small French oak barrels): Deep ruby. Intense aromas of blackcurrant, cherry compote and licorice, with a suggestion of sexy oak spices. Supple and broad but lively, with ripe, sweet dark berry flavors lifted by juicy acidity. Smooth, sweet and seamless on the finish, which hangs on with outstanding tenacity and youthful tannic grip.