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In 1999, after 30 years as technical director and world–renown winemaker for for Vega Sicilia, Mariano Garcia teamed up with […]

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In 1999, after 30 years as technical director and world–renown winemaker for for Vega Sicilia, Mariano Garcia teamed up with Javier Zaccagnini, then head Ribera del Duero’s Consejo Regulador, to create Aalto. From the beginning they have been guided by three principals: old-vine or massale selection Tinto Fino, a wide range of terroirs spread over nine villages in the province of Burgos, and the winemaking talents of Mariano Garcia. Currently the partners farm 110 hectares. Twenty hectares are a young vines (a massale selection from their best old-vine material) while the remaining 90 hectares are from 40 to 100 years old. The soils where their vineyards are situated vary from stony red clay to free-draining and limestone rich sands providing providing both structure and a purity of fruit to the final wines.

Vineyard work at Aalto is entirely manual with the primary goal of maintaining low yields. With many of the vines being old, yields are kept low naturally but Mariano will also green harvest to ensure that the fruit at harvest is concentrated and evenly ripe. Harvesting is manual as well and the grapes are transported to the cellar in small crates where they are sorted, chilled, destemming and sorted again before crushing. Fermentations are conducted, by parcel, in stainless steel, cement or oak vats designed specifically by Mariano. Maceration is gentle with regular pump overs ensuring a good extraction of fruit without harsh or bitter tannins. Once the fermentation is complete the wines are racked, by gravity, into French and American oak barrels located in a cool, subterranean cellar. Here they finish their malolactic fermentation and complete their elevage which lasts from 20–24 months.

Final blends are decided by site rather than barrel. The primary cuvée, simply known as Aalto, sees about 50% new oak with the remainder in second and third fill barrels. In the very best vintages a small selection of the oldest vines fruit from the best sites is bottled separately as Aalto PS (Pagos Selectionados). This wine is aged entirely in new French oak and sees an additional four months of elevage.

Castilla y Leon, Spain
  • Location
    Castilla y Leon, Spain
  • Primary Appellation
    Ribera del Duero
  • Proprietor
    Mariano Garcia & Javier Zaccagnini
  • Winemaker
    Mariano Garcia
  • Size / Elevation
    110 hectares / 800-900 meters
  • Age of Vines
    15-100 years
  • Farming
  • Varieties
  • Cellar
    Hand harvested, destemmed, fermented by site in stainless steel tank, concrete or oak vat, aging in French and a small percentage of American oak
  • Portfolio
    Eric Solomon Selections
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