An incredible best buy from Spain, this is one of the top wine values we have come across this year and shows that there are many untapped Spanish producers making great wine at fair prices. This wine comes from the historical region of Aragon, an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, and was a project founded in the 1980s by Ramón Reula, who united many of the historic vineyards and properties of the area known as Finca Ayles since the middle ages. The winery itself is located near the city of Zaragoza, halfway between Madrid and Barcelona. It is one of the largest collections of historical land in Aragon, covering more than 3,200 hectares of valuable property.
The earliest documents of Ayles dated back to the 12th century, and the vineyards were initially gifted to the Cistercian monks by King Alfonso II in 1165, who controlled the vineyards successfully for five centuries.
Ayles encompasses many rivers, ravines, and valleys perfect for growing grapes featuring soils of many types like clay, limestone, and chalk. This winery's modern presence is quite significant, and after years of continuous studies ranging from pedology, climatology, organoleptic, and multiple other examinations, including Ayles' historical background, in October 2010, they were granted Pago or Cru status, which is the highest classification a Spanish winery can hope to achieve and today they are the only Pago in Aragon.
Wines are made sustainably with minimal intervention and organic farming on 47 hectares of vines divided between Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The vineyards are located around the facility and are sometimes harvested during the night to keep them cooler before vinification.
The Vino de Pago is a blend of all varietals grown on the property; Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. The Merlot and Tempranillo are co-fermented because of a similar maturation cycle, and the Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache are co-fermented for the same reason. Only indigenous yeasts are used, and malolactic fermentation occurs in French oak barrels that have been previously used 1 or 2 times before aging for six months.
Considering the astonishing amount of work and effort to stay true to history and the terroir, plus the attention to detail, if this were a French or Italian wine, it would be well over $50. Such is the beauty of Spain, where outstanding wines can still be found at prices we haven't seen in years.
This is a monumental wine, and the Cuesta del Herrero shows an incredible sense of terroir and minerality with the outstanding presence and purity of concentrated fruit. It is almost unbelievable how good this is at this pricing, and even if red blends aren't your go-to, this worth checking out as one of the top wine values on the market today.
Decanter 97 pts! "There is yet more impressive Iberian Best In Show value from this Pago wine, the first in Aragon: Ayles, sited near to Zaragoza. It’s a young blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo with a little Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and stood out for successive panels of judges thanks to its generosity, poise and charm. Dark black-red in colour, its sweet, pure black-cherry and plum fruits waft alluringly from the glass. The concentration is remarkable for this price bracket, and the combination of indigenous varieties with a seasoning of Bordeaux favourites brings the wine a complexity which almost comes as a surprise after its aromatic sweetness. Its a wine from evidently propitious vineyards -- about which we will surely hear more in future."