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WA95: “Among The Best Wines From The Vintage” A Wonderful, Sub-$35 Spanish Red - 03/30/2017 - Spain

Earning their best ever 95-point score for their Crianza from the Wine Advocate, the winemaking team at Monasterio has once again proved why they are among the best in region. Showing absolutely beautifully this 2013 shines brightly as one of the very best wines of the vintage. Polished, refined, and sleekly composed it has all the right components to appeal to a very wide audience. Attractively priced at just under $35, it has a terrific cost-to-points ratio - placing it among the best deals in our Spanish department. For fans for Spanish reds this is a must have bottle, but even the casual wine drinker will want to give it a whirl as it’s simply too charming to miss.

Driven by clean red fruits and laser like focus, it gradually unfolds in the glass to reveal additional tones of vanilla, tobacco, asian spice, smoke, and wild herbs. Fine-grained, silky tannins make for a very pleasant mouthfeel that carries from the first sip into its long, satisfying finish. There’s enough structure and acid here to allow for short term cellaring with it ready to be enjoyed now or over the next five to seven years. It’s not often you find a best ever bottling and rarer still for it to come at such a great price. Act quickly, as this lovely Crianza is primed to fly off the shelves.

2013 Hacienda Monasterio Ribera del Duero Crianza ($34.99)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The wonderful 2013 Crianza from Hacienda Monasterio is one of the great successes from a challenging vintage that resulted in a heterogeneous collection of wines, where you can find the best and the worst. 2013 was a shorter vintage and they didn't do a Reserva or Reserva Especial that year, so the very best grapes from their estate vineyards went into this Crianza. In fact, they sold 40% of their production in bulk. The final blend was 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and they didn't use any Merlot this year. It's a very precise vintage, with symmetry and a chiseled mouthfeel coupled with very good acidity, a little higher than in 2014 and with half a degree less of alcohol. The Monasterio vineyards are south-facing, the warmer exposure in the northern hemisphere, so they have an advantage in cooler years such as this 2013. Since 2012, the vineyards are organically certified, even if they have always been worked that way; the only difference is that they are now officially certified. The fruit is red rather than black and the tannins are super fine and elegant, providing for that laser-cut precision. This is clearly among the best wines from the vintage. In a way it reminded me of the 1996. The severe selection resulted into 134,560 bottles, way below the average, and it really paid off. Bravo! The south-facing vineyards from Hacienda Monasterio are an advantage in cooler vintages, and their 2013 Crianza, from a late and cold vintage, shows it. (LG)" (02/2017)

94 points James Suckling: "So polished and silky with a wonderful texture. Full to medium body, ultra-fine tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Dark berry and hints of mineral too. Hard not to drink now but better in 2017." (07/2015)

92 points Vinous: "Opaque ruby. Deeply perfumed aromas of black raspberry, blueberry, floral pastilles and smoky minerals, with hints of cured tobacco and vanilla in the background. Seamless and appealingly sweet, offering energetic red berry and cola flavors and a touch of five-spice powder on the back half. Gains weight with air and finishes on a smoky note, with sneaky tannins adding shape. (JR)" (12/2015)

K&L Notes: Crafted my mastermind Peter Sisseck of Pingus fame, Hacienda Monasterio is a certified organic, no expense spared Ribera that was originally planted with cuttings from Vega Sicilia 20+ years ago and is producing some of the region's great bottlings now that those vines are mature. Not only is it the buy of the vintage in Ribera del Duero, but it might take that title for many vintages before and after it in the region.

Anthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: April 01, 2017

This dark-colored Ribera packs a lot of punch. Plenty of rich red fruit, earth, spices, chalk, and a soft, round mouthfeel with great texture and an even better tannin profile. Awesome.

Staff ImageDavid Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

This is the type of bottle you bring to a party where it absolutely destroys every other wine on the table. California fans who appreciate milder Cabs, heavier Pinot Noirs, balanced Zinfandels, and silky tannins from front to back will likely fall head over heels for this lovely little Ribero del Duero. There's a reason the experts have been predicting a Spanish renaissance for years at this point: the quality-to-dollar ratio is absolutely insane (just like partying in Barcelona, you end up getting a carafe of wine, a cheese plate, and endless snacks for like nine dollars). The Monasterio is a seamless wave of absolutely gorgeous red berry fruit that creeps slowly over the palate with precision. I have to imagine the fruit will reside over time and secondary flavors will emerge, but when it tastes this good right now you'd be hard-pressed to lay off. This is beautiful stuff. It's accessible, yet complex. Easy to like, but nuanced and layered. Like I said at the beginning, bring this to a dinner party and set your watch; they'll be oohing and ahhing in a matter of minutes.

Staff ImageGary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

There is often plenty of upside to difficult vintages and this bottle is a prime example of such. I'll roll the dice any day when I know that some incredibly high quality (and generally incredibly expensive) fruit is declassified and blended into an entry-level, or estate bottling. This wine is just seamless, showing notes of dark berries, leather and mocha. This should age gracefully for much longer than your average Crianza. This bottle is definitely worth a hard look but frankly, I don't expect it to be here for long.

Staff ImageDulcinea Gonzalez | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

Never mind Napa, here's a Ribera Del Duero to sink your teeth into! This bold Tempranillo shows power and intensity from start to finish. Framed with ripe, red berry fruit and dark flavored spices, this is lush on the palate with a fine tannin finish. What a killer steakhouse wine, that won't break the bank! Recommended!

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

Impressive, the nose of this wine is a complex blend of concentrated fruit, spice and earth that reaches out to you and beckons you in. It isnt bursting out of the glass, its pooling under the surface. On the palate this is a really focused, well made wine, in a bit of an international style but for someone like me who doesnt like international style its not over the top. The wine is dense yet very linear, not clunky or fat. Its a powerful, yet supple wine; tannin is evident but with its linear axis aligned the tannins elongate and balance. The finish carries through with a savory, complex fruit character, long and balanced.

Staff ImageAlex Pross | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 29, 2017

A stunning wine, the 2013 Hacienda Monasterio Ribera Del Duero knocks your socks off from the very first sniff from the glass. Loaded with seductive aromas of raspberry, rose petals and spice notes this elegant, delineated wine displays remarkable finesse and complexity. Red fruits, spice notes and cola subtly weave around a core of fine tannins and bright acidity. This wine is delightful and is the perfect match for pork, veal or lamb dishes with its bright red fruit and great balance.