'Penas Aladas' is the name of a relatively gentle slope stretching across the back of the village of La Aguilera. Dominio del Aguila farm a number of parcels here, but this Gran Reserva comes exclusively from the same three tiny plots of vines well over a hundred years, less than fifty meters apart, that consistently show exceptional concentration, balance and elegance. In a lot of ways this 'Penas Aladas' slope is a lesson in the subtleties of terroir. The angle of these parcels, which exposes them to a cold stream of wind whipping down from the Sierra de la Demanda, the exact position on the slope where the grading of the clay top soil provides perfect depth before the vines roots start to bite into limestone marl substrate. Even the nature of that substrate too, in these parcels as opposed to those just to the left or right, is slightly different - more friable, layered rather than densely compacted limestone which lets the roots permeate through the rock and imparts a distinct twist of minerality and elegance to the wine. All these tiny factors, and more, combine to make 'Penas Aladas' one of the most distinct and frankly brilliant wines we've come across in Spain.
"This is a rare wine, matured in oak barrels for 45 months and produced in limited quantities in a painfully slow process to create a wine with very high aging potential that, even when released some five or six years after the harvest, feels too young and a little raw. It feels a lot gentler and approachable than the 2013 I tasted next to it; it's more aromatic and expressive, complex and at the same time easy to understand. The palate is also approachable and tender, with very fine-grained tannins, when in reality, it's very powerful and tannic, but the balance is terrific. It should develop beautifully in bottle, and the Ribera character, which is there, should be even more evident with a little more time. 3,051 bottles and 43 magnums were filled unfined and unfiltered by hand in June 2018." Luis Gutierrez - The Wine Advocate.