- Ribera del Duero, Spain
Hacienda Monasterio has a special place in our hearts and cellars. Having remained at the vanguard of the evolution of the DO of Ribera del Duero since the property’s founding in 1991, Hacienda Monasterio continues to innovate and seek new ways to make wines that embody the region’s potential for power combined with elegance and finesse. Guiding this evolution is Peter Sisseck, who joined the estate shortly after its inception, and while he has pushed the envelope in the DO with his own wine Pingus, he’s remained at the helm of Hacienda Monasterio: overseeing the purchase and planting of new vineyards, grafting over existing vines to the local Tempranillo, Tinto Fino, and incrementally improving vinifications by championing native fermentations, experimenting with whole clusters and employing larger 500L French oak barrels for aging.
The results of these changes are evident in the wines. While retaining the complex aromatics that are a signature of this terroir – think orange peel and black olive tapenade, recent vintages have shown ever more elegance and precision. Wines that were once reticent and rewarding of some time in the cellar are immediately accessible and engaging. Recently Hacienda Monasterio has received some well earned praise from Luis Gutierrez who wrote in the Wine Advocate, “I tasted three breathtaking wines, starting with the 2011 Crianza which is, year in, year out, one of the best crianzas from Ribera del Duero.” It is a testament to the terroir of Hacienda Monasterio that throughout the evolution towards a more elegant style of winemaking, it still retains all of its power and intensity, deepened and enriched by greater finesse and complexity.
In most vintages Hacienda Monasterio makes two wines: a Crianza/Cosecha, and a Reserva. Occasionally the estate will have an exceptional vintage where the quality of the fruit is matched by its abundance and in such vintages Hacineda Monasterio will bottle a Reserva Especial.
All the wines at Hacienda Monasterio are primarily Tempranillo. The Reservas add a portion of Cabernet Sauvignon and are aged in 500 L French oak barrels for 20 months with about 60% of the barrels being new. The Crianza, in addition to Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon includes small percentages of Merlot and Malbec. It is aged for a minimum of 12 months (more frequently closer to 18 months) in neutral French oak barrels.
The trend in the cellar towards larger barrels and a decrease in total quantity of new oak, is matched by a change in winemaking that incorporates a portion of whole clusters, native yeast fermentations and a more gentle maceration. Taken together, the new approaches to fermentation and aging are yielding wines with greater aromatic complexity, more transparent flavors and subtler tannins.