As it has become a tradition in January, I will start the year with the release of the latest vintage of Bodegas Aalto in Ribera del Duero. The regular readers will knew that this is one of my favourite estates (after all it was Aalto back in 2004 that drew my attention to the region) and I am pleased that the winery is going from strength to strength with every new vintage.
2019 was about as classic as they get to be in Ribera; cold (down to -9 C in some high vineyards) and mainly dry winter. Mostly dry through the summer with some rain in June and August (just when it was needed to avoid hydric stress) and Autumn slightly hotter than usual during the day, but with cold nights. All in all, very friendly to the vignerons other than slightly reduced volume of the juice due to higher temperatures in September. This in turn slightly increased the concentration, so about as good as one would like it. In short a great vintage for high quality wine making. Needless to say, the very experienced wine making team at Aalto did not have to do more than just guide this great liquid through some fine barrels and into the bottles for us to enjoy.
I did manage to pop over to Ribera twice in 2021 and had the chance to taste the 2019s after the final racking and just after bottling, as well as today in our little shop in Richmond. And, yes, the boys and girls at Aalto have done a great job once again.
As in previous vintages, the major world wine influencers have not yet released their notes on 2019, so you will have to trust my notes. I would expect the 2019s to be rated slightly higher than 2018s which was rated 94 points for Aalto and 95 for PS. We have, however, just received notification that Aalto 2019 had been voted the best wine release of the year by the Association of Spanish Wine Writers. Make of it what you will, as they might not as influential as those from Wine Advocate (WA) or Vinous, that is a high accolade in my books. I am very happy with the wines, especially the PS – the tasting note below is combination of all tasting notes over the last 6 months.
So to the wines:
Aalto 2019 – ZR 17+
This will provide great joy in the years to come. Deep, shiny and purple. Lots of glycerine on the glass. Quite broad, ripe, Pomerol like on the nose with soft, ripe, dark autumn fruit and soft, subdued wood in the back. Serious concentration and intensity, broader than 3 months ago at the winery, it coats the whole palate. Prunes and blueberries dominate entrance with dark chocolate, cinnamon, leather and soft wood in the back. One is aware of tannins, but they are so silky and polished that you really have to look for them. Superb effort, this will need 2-3 y to settle in the bottle and will go on for at least 10. Quite Hedonistic. Easy 17+
Aalto PS 2019 – ZR – 19 (+)
This is the next level of intensity and power. Kind of a super-charged, more powerful version of Aalto. The wood and tannins are more evident in the background, but without any loss of finesse; just more depth and complexity. If anything, it seems to be more precise. PS would be a Happy Intellectual to regular Aalto’s Hedonist if you want to split hairs, but this is about as impressive as the wine gets to be in my books. I am one happy boy and, yes, I am very grateful for the privilege. It seems to be growing in stature every hour that I go back to it. Right now, it is still more of a feeling of greatness than any identifiable aspect of it, but whooooaaaaa!!! What a drop of vino. The palate coating seems to last forever. I might be biased, but I feel that I am being conservative by giving it 19(+). Insanely good.
So much for this time, but I will be back to you soon with Burgundy 2020 report(s).
City Wine Collection