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 Crianza is now simply the 2016 Hacienda Monasterio, a powerful wine from a large vintage where the vines delivered a good crop of ripe grapes, even when the grapes were harvested early. They told me they have seen the climate change in their vineyards, and the ripe grapes and the wine now achieve 15% alcohol and it's very difficult to lower it. This is a generous and ripe wine with a juicy texture, ripe flavors and abundant, round tannins. It feels very young and undeveloped, and the wine seems to have the stuffing and balance for a positive development in bottle. The 2017 and 2018 vintages were fermented in the new smaller vats, 8,000-liter (instead of the 20,000-liter vats they had originally until 2016), which will allow them to vinify smaller lots.