Aalto Wines
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Aalto

Aalto

Aalto is the emblematic name of a winery which has become a benchmark in the Ribera del Duero. The extensive experience of Mariano García, who was Vega Sicilia’s winemaker for thirty years,...

Year founded1999
EnologistMariano García
Own vineyards:110 / ha
Annual production250,000 bottles
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Wine from Aalto

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Aalto

Aalto is the emblematic name of a winery which has become a benchmark in the Ribera del Duero. The extensive experience of Mariano García, who was Vega Sicilia’s winemaker for thirty years, comes through in the powerfulness and complexity of the wines.

The winery

The AALTO project came into being in 1999, when it was set up by Mariano García and the engineer Javier Zaccagnini, with the sole objective of producing a wine which would present a different personality and very high quality. The intention was for AALTO wine to bring together the diversity and complexity of various localities in the Ribera del Duero.

Until the 2004 vintage, wine production took place in rented facilities in Roa (Burgos). At the same time, the search began to find a new site for the location of their own winery, culminating in the discovery of a very attractive 15-hectare plot in Quintanilla de Arriba (Valladolid). The first phase of the new winery, integrating perfectly into the natural environment, was completed in 2005, with this being the first vintage to be produced in the installations. The second phase of the building, comprising the winery’s more general areas, was finished in 2016.

The team

Mariano García

The legendary figure from Valbuena de Duero studied at Madrid’s Escuela de la Vid y el Vino and produced his first vintage in 1968 at Vega Sicilia, where he developed his professional career as its technical director for thirty years. In 1999, he founded Bodegas AALTO, together with Javier Zaccagnini, becoming its technical director right from the very start. Javier sold his share in order to devote himself to his own particular project, Sei Solo, and Mariano took control, along with his sons Eduardo and Alberto. As a winemaker, Mariano García has always been characterised by his ability to combine powerfulness and structure with elegance and complexity in a masterly way.

Vineyards

The winery currently operates with 130 hectares of old, native Tinto Fino vines. Due to differences in altitude and climate, the vineyards, planted with vines aged from 40 to 100 years old, are harvested individually. They are grown without the use of herbicides or chemical fertilisers, especially looking for quality instead of quantity. The AALTO lands are distributed among more than 200 plots located in 9 different municipalities: each one brings its own character to the wine and this endows it with a unique complexity:

  • Quintanilla de Arriba: well-drained slopes, calcareous-clay soils at 800 m.
  • La Aguilera: slopes with a gradual incline, having sand on the surface, clay and limestone below, lying at 900 m.
  • Fresnillo: southerly facing. Soft, sandy soils in which sandstone comes to the surface. Surrounded by holm oaks and lying at 850 m.
  • Valbuena de Duero: calcareous-clay soils on the slopes and alluvial in low areas. 750 m.
  • Moradillo: upland terraces with an extreme climate. Stony terrain with chippings originally fluvial and glacial. 950 m.
  • Baños de Valdearados: calcareous-clay and sandy. Slopes with little soil due to the rocky ground. 900 m.
  • Piñel de Abajo: west-facing slopes with reddish-brown clay, very different from the rest of the province. 800 m.
  • La Horra-Roa: slopes with a gradual incline, having clay-loam, reddish-brown and sandy-loam soils. Deep-lying sedimentary gravel. 800 m.

Winemaking

Harvesting for the red wines usually begins around September 24th. The grapes are always Tinto Fino in variety and from very long-established vines, aged 60-90 years old for PS and 40-80 for Aalto. The harvest is carried out by hand, using small 15-kilo crates for the grapes, which are then carefully inspected, bunch by bunch, on the selection table. 

For PS (Pagos Singulares) only grapes are used from very specific vineyards located in La Horra and La Aguilera. The wine remains in French barrels for between 20 and 30 months. The grapes for Aalto come from nine different municipalities in Ribera areas within the provinces of Burgos and Valladolid. The wine remains in barrel (French and American oak) for 18 to 24 months.

The white grapes for Blanco de Parcela are harvested in the middle of September and come from the Fuente de las Hontanillas plot, in Quintanilla de Arriba, Valladolid. Their must ferments in 500-litre barrels where it will mature for 9 months, with cap plunging weekly.

The wines

The two reds come under the Ribera del Duero DO, while the white is bottled as a Vino de la Tierra (VT) de Castilla y León, a wine from that community.

Aalto is a wine which is offered each year, providing the right conditions for grape maturity have been met. It’s a very fresh and elegant wine on the nose, with volume and structure on the palate, and also having a persistent hint of ripe red fruits mixed with spices.

Aalto PS comes out in 7 or 8 vintages per decade. On the nose there’s a predominance of black fruits and elegant toasty touches from its ageing. It appears fresh and dense on the palate, with all-encompassing tannins that augur a very long future.

Aalto Blanco de Parcela is a creamy wine exhibiting elegance from the limestone and freshness from the altitude. It combines aromatic complexity with spicy, citric touches, the altitude freshness with the limestone soil’s elegance.

The company / The group

Apart from Aalto, Mariano García and his sons are currently engaged in three other family projects: Bodegas Mauro (Castilla y León VT, at Tudela de Duero), San Román Bodegas y Viñedos (Toro DO, at Villaester de Arriba) and Garmón Continental (Ribera del Duero DO, at Olivares de Duero).