The name means ‘land of the chaplains’, a reminder that the land was once owned by the Church until it was donated back to the city council in 1855. (They have a bit of history in Europe)
The Rodero-Villa family have been grape growers in the area since 1980, however it was in 1996 that they committed to a new winery and really began the modern interpretation of this estate. In less than 20 years Pago de los Capellanes has reached the status reserved for Ribera del Duero’s greatest bodegas, dominated by the region’s oldest wineries, such as Vega Sicilia and Alejandro Fernández.
The vineyard is divided into 35 plots that are vinified separately. The soils which produce these wines are found at an altitude of 800 meters above sea level and are clay-lime, with very little productive potential, which makes the vines take root deep into the earth. They face very hot summers (up to 45ºC) and very cold winters (0º) with a rainfall level of around 500ml per year. Similarly, during the harvest the thermal contrasts between day and night are also extreme, benefiting the grape ripening process, strengthening the alcoholic content, the colour and the tannins, and even more importantly, maintaining a balanced acidity. The diurnal temperature which is so vital for great wine growing regions.
This ‘Joven’ or young wine, is a blend from 20 plots with five months of ageing in new 300-litre French oak casks. The nose is full of violets and liquorice, with dark berry fruit characters. Energy and vitality flow over the palate and this pure Tempranillo (or Tinto Fino as it is called in Ribera) is full, elegant, velvety and tasty.
I can see why this winery is regarded as one of the region’s top producers.