2018 Picaro Clarete Vinas Viejas 93+ WA
Dominio del Aguila
La Aguilera, Spain
2018: $34.99/$31.99 on 4+ (use code: 4saves3)
While this is a rose-colored wine, it is a 'clarete', not a rose. This means it is a wine made by co-fermenting red and white grapes together, rather than making a rose wine with a light press of only red grapes or the saignee method, also only red grapes where juice is bled out of a tank of red wine to concentrate the must.
Before we get into the weeds, I'll just say that this wine reminds me very much texturally of Domaine Tempier rose, maybe the greatest rose wine in the world from Bandol in the south of France. I visited with Jorge in Spain a few years ago and here is my article from my website LINK.
In the years gone by (the old school), clarete was a common wine of Ribera del Duero, not classically a rosé but certainly pink in color. Picaro Clarete is actually made by treading, or blending, a mix of whole cluster red and white grapes bunches in tank followed by a couple days' maceration, then into large oak vats for a slow fermentation. After about 8-9 months, the wine is transferred to neutral French and American oak barrels where it ages for 16 months before bottling. This is a SERIOUS "rose", or clarete more importantly. It has body, some tannin, so textural depth, as well as a vinous quality that marries both red and white wines.
- Grapes: Tempranillo, Albillo, Garnacha, Bobal
- Soil: Sandy clay limestone, heavier clay soils, gravel
- Vinification: Whole cluster crushing by foot in tank, two day maceration, slow natural yeast fermentation in oak vats (8-9 months)
Maturation: 16 months in neutral oak barrels, no racking
2018 - 93+pts Robert Parker Wine Advocate
The 2018 Pícaro del Águila Clarete is riper, comes from a cooler and slow-ripening year and had a shorter élevage, 16 months in French oak barrels. 2018 is one of the greatest vintages in the zone in recent years but perhaps not as fresh as 2016 was. It was a textbook harvest, and all the clarete was bottled without malolactic to keep the vibrant acidity. This combines power and elegance, and it's still young and only starting to develop the perfume that, to me, is the giveaway for this wine, which I found when tasting the 2017 next to this. This is a very pretty and pleasant wine, tasty and easy to drink. A crowd-pleaser.