The 2012 Alto Moncayo, pure Garnacha from a warm, extremely dry and early vintage is extremely young and oaky with a nose full of vanilla, cinnamon, clove and smoke along with ripe blackberries, some cereal hints and notes of cafÃ© au lait intermixed with quite a lot of toasts aromas from the barrel. The bottled wine is 16% alcohol but feels quite balanced, it has some grainy tannins to be resolved, and some oak flavors to be integrated. A ripe, rich Garnacha that should age well in bottle. There were 55,200 bottles produced in 2012.
Alto Moncayo, the winery created in 2002 by Jorge OrdoÃ±ez, Bodegas Borsao, Australian winemaker Chris Ringland and other partners to create the most ambitious wines from AragÃ³n, needs no introduction, as their labels AquilÃ³n and Alto Moncayo are well known by our readers. They showed up with bottles from AquilÃ³n from 2008 to 2012 included, so I tasted the five vintages, which was great comparison, and also an opportunity to see the pace at which the wine ages. The wine is pure Garnacha from vines planted between 1920 and 1950 on poor soils with clay, iron and red slate. The yields are low and ripeness high, resulting in wines that regularly hit the scales at a whopping 16% alcohol. The grapes are harvested in 18-kilo boxes and sorted, crushed and fermented in small 4,000-5,000 kilo vats with neutral yeasts. The wine is the aged for 24 months in new oak barrels (20% American, the rest French, all of them new in all vintages). AquilÃ³n is really a barrel selection, so AquilÃ³n and Alto Moncayo are basically produced in the same way. What I found was that the character of the vintage was clear in the wines and they have different personalities, but the quality level is quite homogeneous.
Alto Moncayo is not shy either, sourced from equally old Garnacha and fermented in the same way as AquilÃ³n is aged for a slightly shorter time, around two years and the percentage of American oak is higher, reaching 40% which is both experimental (blind tasting) and because Ringland wants that character in the wine. These are clearly the most ambitious wines produced in Campo de Borja and in the whole of AragÃ³n. Ripe, massive, concentrated, well-oaked and hedonistic Garnacha wines.
I had the chance to taste the wines with Chris Ringland, who fell in love when visiting the mountain Garnacha vines from Campo de Borja in the early years of this century and that's how the story started...
Floral and spice aromas give way to juicy fruit flavors of black cherry, pomegranate and plum in this bold red. Fine-grained tannins and fresh, citrusy acidity lend focus. A modern style, showing focus and restraint. Drink now through 2020. 1,500 cases made. â€“TM