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!
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.
Licorice, mineral and smoke notes frame black cherry, plum and loamy earth flavors in this sleek red. Well-integrated tannins and juicy acidity support the polished texture. Balanced and elegant. Drink now through 2027. (TM)
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