Founded in 1999, Mariano García and Javier Zaccagnini are the driving forces behind this renowned Ribera del Duero winery. Mariano worked as a winemaker at Vega Sicilia for over 30 years and together with his family started Mauro in the outskirts of the DO Ribera and San Román in Toro, while Zaccagnini is a former director of Ribera’s Regulatory Board. Spanish wine groups Masaveu, with wineries in Rioja (Murúa), Rías Baixas (Fillaboa) and Navarra (Pagos de Araiz) and Enate (Somontano) are Aalto’s major stakeholders.
Since the very moment it was released, Aalto was a major success, immediately joining the ranks of the region’s top reds. Mariano García’s expertise and his formidable knowledge of the region significantly contributed to this achievement. The style of the wines is definitely modern: fruit-driven, powerful reds, yet with enveloping, gentle texture adding finesse. They are exclusively made from Tinto Fino, as Tempranillo is locally called. Mariano García brilliantly used a car simile to explain the wines some time ago; he said Alto was “an Audi while Vega Sicilia was a Mercedes”.
In order to achieve complexity and balance, grapes are sourced from 110 hectares in 200 parcels located in different villages within the appellation. “It takes several notes to make a chord”, explains wine and music lover Javier Zaccagnini referring not only to soil, altitude and exposure variability but also to Tinto Fino’s genetic diversity. In fact, a press tasting was recently held to show Aalto’s differentiating features. Grapes from La Horra constitute the core of the blend with varying percentages coming from other villages like Quintanilla, Piñel, La Aguilera, Moradillo, Fresnillo or Baños.
The winery produces two wines and around 250,000 bottles. Aalto (about €28) accounts for the largest part of them while Aalto PS (€65, 10,000 bottles), which stands for “Pagos Seleccionados” (selection of plots), is not made every year. Notably, vineyards destined to this wine can vary significantly from one vintage to another due to extreme climate conditions in the area. In both cases, blending takes place after aging.
The winery is currently revamping its facilities with a view to expand its wine tourism offer. They expect to reopen to visitors by January 2016.
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