Grapes: 95% Tempranillo 5%Garnacha/Monastrell
Fruit was sourced from the villages of Hoyales de Roa y Castrillo de la Vega, specifically the parcels Alto la Peña, La Retama and Cuarterones. These plots exhibit sandy soils with a layer of clay at the surface and average 15 years in age. The vines are farmed organically, but are not certified.
The grapes were lightly crushed and de-stemmed prior to alcoholic fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine saw malolactic fermentation half in stainless steel and half in oak barrels. The barrels used for aging were 90% French oak and 10% new American oak. The wine saw a total of 6 months aging in barrel.
View from the Cellar
The Aptus Tinto from Bodegas Peñalba Herraiz was a new wine to me this year, with their 2015 coming in at 14.5 percent alcohol and having spent six months of its elevage in oak casks. The wine is a blend of ninety-five percent Tempranillo and the other five percent a mix of Garnacha and Monastrell, with the vineyards farmed organically and in conversion to biodynamics. Indigenous yeasts are used for fermentation and no enzymes are utilized in the cellars. The 2015 Aptus has a ripe, but pure nose of black cherries, plums, dark chocolate, clovelike spice tones, a bit of lead pencil and spicy oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and nicely light on its feet, with a good core, moderate tannins and good length and grip on the very slightly hot finish. There are a lot of good things going on here, but the 14.5 percent octane gets just a bit distracting on the backend and keeps the score down a tad. If the bodegas could get this into the fourteen percent range, it would be stunning, rather than just pretty good! I should mention that this is also very reasonably priced for Ribera del Duero, retailing here in the US at seventeen dollars a bottle. 2017-2035. Jan/Feb 2017
(fermented in stainless steel tanks, with malolactic fermentation and six months of aging in used French and American oak barrels) Bright violet. Spice-tinged aromas of ripe black and blue fruits are joined in the glass by a hint of vanilla. Appealingly sweet and expansive on the palate, offering plush blueberry and cassis flavors that pick up a smoky nuance on the back half. Gentle tannins shape a very persistent, dark-fruited finish that leaves behind a lively suggestion of cracked pepper. Spain’s New Releases, Part 2: Triumphs and Travails – May 16, 2017