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2019 #RiberaDelDuero | Pago de los Capellanes winery, Roa

Updated: Jan 8, 2020

This spring my #winetrip to Ribera Del Duero region in Spain started with visit to Bodega Pago de Los Capellanes quite young winery, which was founded in 1996 by Rodero family in Pedrosa del Duero, the province of Burgos.

The estate is very modern and well managed. It's located in a quiet place nearby the village Roa and built with simple pure lines blend in the landscape in a very pleasant way. The vineyards and vines are treated with perfect care - clean, precisely trained, ideally trellised, showing a great example of how the proper vineyard management should look like.

This part of Ribera Del Duero is called La Horra-Roa, the terrior supplies the most powerful Tempranillo grapes in the whole region, which gives very intense wines in terms of colour, structure and tannin content.

The soils are predominantly loamy clay, sandy, reddish-brown with gravel of a deep sedimentary origin with large difference between plots. The heights of La Horra-Roa are 750-800m above sea level and the vineyards are located on the hills with shallow slopes.

Modern #bodega is built in the location of the Rodero Villa family's first wine growing venture, which old building is still alive and kept by the owners in a very good shape as a part of the family's appreciated history.

The area and atmosphere inside is super relaxing, stylishly made for the full comfort of visitors and, which is also important, for people working here.

Local soils are shown in the visiting area, so you can see clearly their different composition in a meter depth perspective.

The small fontain is a truly feng shui point, I personally liked it a lot. It's kind of declaration of love for the vine as one of the most important part of life for whole #RiberaDelDuero region and certainly for people living here and dedicating their life to vine & wine.

My visit started with family's short story, then vineyards' details (which I think would be too much technical to mention here), but then we've watched a short video directed by Javier Rodero - the son of the owners Paco Rodero and Conchita Villa, which I think is absolutely deserves to watch by any wine lover and aesthete like myself.

The title in English is "The year in the life of Pago de los Capellanes", a very beautiful and emotional short film with a great background music, made by people definitely in love with their land and vines.

Moving to the winery itself to see lovely winemaking equipment, which is rather modern, well kept, amazingly clean and perfectly maintained.

The winery uses mostly stainless steel tanks for fermentation and storage.

These UFO-shaped shining tanks have definitely attracted my attention. They're designed, constructed and tailor made especially for Pago de los Capellanes by request of the winemaker and owners of the winery. This is perfect example of how different all the wineries are in their approach to the winemaking techniques, and, of course, all these details influence to the style of wine being produced.

The point of this special shape, as explained, is that during fermentation the pressure is concentrated on narrowest part in the bottom of the tank, naturally pushing the juice along the widening walls up to the cap, which is lying on the widest part at the top. Thus it breaks the cap bottom-to-top during fermentation and makes free-run juice constantly circulating up-n-down, creating kind of natural pumping over with the help of this special shape of the tanks.

Large old oak vats are used for vinification of Reserva wines and special parcels like "El Picon".

This small oak fermentation vat and new oak casks are used for fermentation and storage of the special parcel "El Nogal" top wine of the estate.

Continuing diving deeper underground, to explore cellars of Pago de los Capellanes, which I've found quite stylish and, again, very well made and maintained.

Teeny tiny details always mean a lot. This car was a real transport for the barrels with wine many years ago. Now it's a part of exposition in the underground #cellars of the estate, like a reminder about the roots of wine production's history of the area.

The underground cellar is quite impressive, located ten meters below ground zero level at constant temperature and humidity.

Wine ageing is going in French oak, new and old barrels are used proportionally, depending on particular style of wine being produced.

The owners have their wines' library, which looks maybe not that big in comparison with some of the oldest French chateaux's collections, but still very good for the estate with just a bit more than 20 y.o. history. Each vertical line is a column of bottles of a certain wine made in the certain year, so going from left to right you can find all the #wines and vintages produced by Pago de los Capellanes from the beginning up to now.

As the story of the winery is not much long yet and it's only started in 1996, so the first available vintage of Reserva and “El Picon” is 1998, the first two columns on the left.

My visit ended up, of course, with wine tasting. Pago de los Capellanes produces all their wines of Tempranillo 100%. The range consists of three Spanish classics as Joven, Crianza, Reserva and two special wines made of the grapes grown on the small parcels called "El Picon" and "El Nogal".

Joven the youngest one but has a light touch of oak during 5m, is fresh and vibrant with crispy acidity, very fruity with red berries' flavours and a bit of spiciness on the palate. Tannins are quite sharp and grippy, but knowing it's a young wine this's fairly expected. Definitely a good wine to enjoy within a year or two maximum after bottling.

Crianza the more mature wine aged 12m in oak, shows more serious character, still with typical Tempranillo's black and red fruit aromas plus some balsamic notes, but the evidence of oak is already obvious with toasty, smoky flavours on the palate and presence of rather smoother tannins than in Joven. This Crianza can be drunk now with a great pleasure, but in the same time it would have a pretty good potential for at least 2-3 years bottle ageing, if you would keep it in your personal cellar for a while.

Reserva this wine is made from the grapes grown on the 80 y.o. vines. It's more mature one aged 14m in oak, still very fruity with blackberry, black plum and red cherry aromas, but already showing even more complex elegant tertiary flavours like liquorice, chocolate and leather, which are quite persistent here. Powerful mature tannins are well balanced with a good acidity, alcohol level is high, but it's typical for the majority of Ribera wines, so no surprises here. You can easily keep this Riserva more like 5-6 years at your home collection, but it's actually ready to be drunk now pairing with a good meat steak at your summer barbecue with friends.

El Picon the grapes for this wine are grown in the special micro parcel of 1.6 hectars and the wine is produced only in the special great vintages, so you can imagine the quantity of production is very limited and the wine is quite rare thing on the market. Ageing goes first 22m in oak, then 40m in the bottle, no filtering. This is a really powerful wine with black plum, cassis and ripe bramble aromas, demonstrating a strong oak influence with complex tobacco, cinnamon and balsamic flavours. Rounded tannins are well balanced with a good acidity level. Despite the fact that it's already aged quite long in the bottle and made ready to drink, I believe it's still has a great potential for ageing like 10 years for sure.

El Nogal is a parcel of 6 hectares located at 850m above sea level, which gives unique characteristics to Tempranillo grapes grown there. This wine is produced only in the special great vintages and of a small quantity, aged 18m in oak, which gives it dark chocolate flavours, hints of roasted nuts, coffee beans and liquorice. The wine is very elegant, demonstrating ripe red forest berries flavours with rounded velvet mouthfeel. Special wine deserves a special occasion to drink, but if you're lucky to taste it anywhere just without any occasion then never miss this opportunity.

The tasting room opens a stunning view to the 80 y.o. bush vines of the estate and an amazing panorama of Ribera Del Duero landscape.

All the wines of the estate can be bought at very good prices in a spacious shop just right on the place.

I absolutely enjoyed visiting Pago de los Capellanes and would highly recommend it to anyone who's travelling to Ribera Del Duero, as long as tasting and drinking their great wines anywhere in the world.

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