Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.






The Winery

Aalto is a joint project founded by Mariano García, chief winemarker of thirty years at perhaps the most famous Ribera del Duero brand, Vega Sicilia, and Javier Zaccagnini, former head of Consejo Regulador de Ribera del Duero.  The cooperation that started in 1998 has in the meantime received tremendous attention of the wine enthusiasts of the world and a multitude of praise from the experts.  Ribera del Duero, next to Rioja, is one of the distinguished wine appellations of Spain, specializing in producing excellent wines using the local variety called Tinto Fino (resembling Tempranillo).  Aalto manages over 40 hectares of old vineyards (between 50 and 100 years of age) in the at the altitude of 700 to 850 meters.


After 10 years, the winery is considered a leader in the Ribera del Duero and has obtained the highest reviews in many tastings.  Top scores include three 98 point-ratings from The Wine Advocate, and twice being named Best Wine of Spain, as selected by Michel Bettane and Thiery Dessauve’s book of the Best 100 Wineries of the World.




2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto – $31.67

This wine is 100% Tempranillo from my favorite wine region in Spain, Ribera Del Duero.


This has 15.0% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.



My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep maroon, dark color.  The stunning nose has blackberry liqueur, melted licorice, warm baking spices, cedar, dark bittersweet chocolate, some earthy underbrush, and a nice floral note.  This has medium to full body, fairly solid tannins, and good acidity.  On the palate the wine is rich and plush with spicy berries, dark chocolate, and some earthiness.  The finish is long and loaded with spicy fruit and dark chocolate.  This tastes outstanding today, but may get even better with some additional cellar time.  (94 pts)

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto

2004 Bodegas AAlto Ribera del Duero AAlto



Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.


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This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.