Today Hacienda Monasterio's vines – Tempranillo cuttings that originally came from Vega Sicilia – are 30 years old, and in their prime.
Take it from your wine country concierge: this wine is a KNOCKOUT! So soft, savory, fresh, and dadgum slurpable! It calls for something like lamb rib chops marinated in garlic, ras el hanout, and balsamic vinegar. You absolutely can’t go wrong picking up a case!
Hacienda Monasterio is the creation of Peter Sisseck, the man responsible for Pingus, one of the greatest wines of Spain. Back in 1990, he and his uncle Peter Vinding-Diers, a successful Bordeaux proprietor, found a 60 hectare parcel of old vines on the limestone slopes of Ribera del Duero. Realizing that the vines were in poor shape and needed to be replanted, Sisseck decided to sell the property to Spanish investors, and stay on as winemaker and general manager. In 1995 Sisseck launched Pingus, but today he remains as Hacienda Monasterio's consulting winemaker Today those vines - Tempranillo cuttings that originally came from Vega Sicilia - are over 25 years old, and in their prime. This crianza wine is made up of 80% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), 10% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from really low yields - 30 hectoliters per hectare, and raised in only 30% new wood.
The flagship Crianza is now simply referred to as 2015 Hacienda Monasterio. This is their biggest production, with some 181,630 bottles in this classical and powerful vintage where the secret was an early harvest to keep the acidity and freshness in the wine and keep the alcoholic degree under control. It's mostly Tempranillo, with 10% each Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, fermented with indigenous yeasts and with long and soft macerations. It matured for some 18 months in French oak barrels, 25% of them new (a percentage that has been gradually lowered in the last few years). It has a balanced nose, with nuance and subtleness, with the oak nicely folded into the fruit, incipient perfume, and even if young, you can almost see where it can go in bottle. The foreign varieties are not really noticed; they are very integrated. The palate has terrific balance and refined tannins. There is no heat or excess ripening whatsoever. For a moment, I thought I was tasting the 2014. This is one of the best and most widely available wines from Ribera del Duero. It should evolve nicely in bottle.
Made with guidance from Peter Sisseck, the 2015 Crianza from Hacienda Monasterio is a blockbuster effort that’s a blend of 75% Tinto Fino, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Merlot, all of which spent 18 months in 30% new French oak. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by terrific notes of blueberries, violets, graphite, and crushed rocks. Full-bodied, deep, concentrated, and elegant, with a traditional style and building tannin, it’s incredible that they produce upward of 30,000 cases of this beauty. It’s no doubt beautiful today yet will keep for a decade or more. Even at $50, it’s a smoking value!