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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

A Seductive Tempranillo Highlights a Tapas Dinner

Bodegas Aalto Ribera del Duero 2005

James Laube
Posted: May 25, 2010

There is something terribly seductive about a rich, layered young Tempranillo. I truly began to appreciate the variety when I visited Spain for three weeks in the late 1980s. Among my assignments was a feature on how vintner Alejandro Fernandez, founder of Pesquera, was helping revitalize the Ribera del Duero area with a new approach to winemaking, resulting in fresher, lively, fruitier renditions of Tempranillo than those of the past.

Another Ribera del Duero wine featured at a great tasting moment I had recently, in Las Vegas, where a few of our editors met after the Grand Tour tasting to dine at Julian Serrano’s new tapas and paella bar at Aria. Sommelier Desmond Echevvarie made the wine selections for us, ranging from a La Bota de Manzanilla Sherry to a mouthwatering 2007 Paco & Lola Albariño from Rias Baixas.

But my favorite of the night was the Aalto Ribera del Duero 2005. And we had all had plenty of wine that night, spitting at the tasting, but drinking with Serrano’s festive five-course meal. The Aalto is dark-hued, firm, rich and layered, with aromas of mocha, plum and cedar. It kept getting better with every sip, ending with a delightful black licorice edge. 96 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for more Top Values among Spanish reds.

• Plus, learn more about Ribera del Duero and Aalto in this article.

Jason Thompson
Foster City, CA —  May 25, 2010 5:01pm ET

Was the Aalto bottling the "PS" bottling or just the regular bottling.


James Laube
Napa, CA —  May 25, 2010 5:07pm ET
Jason, I didn't notice...so can't answer you. Not sure if it's listed on the restaurant's wine list either.
Marc Robillard
Montreal,Canada —  May 25, 2010 6:05pm ET
Would also like to know if it was the regular or PS.
One is $60.00 and the other $135.00 at retail here.
Thanks James.
James Laube
Napa, CA —  May 26, 2010 12:15pm ET
Jason, Marc, it was the regular.

Antonio Nieto
celaya —  May 27, 2010 11:26am ET
To me, Mariano Garcia is making some of the best wines in Spain, just tried Mauro and is great!
Adan Farinas
Miami, FL —  August 10, 2012 9:13am ET
I've had the '02 and the '06 Aalto (not the PS) and they have been great. I'm currently cellaring the '08 and '09 because when I drank the '06 I got the feeling that wine was an infant. Has anyone had experience tasting the '05 today? Is it worth the time to cellar?

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