2016 PAGO DE CARRAOVEJAS CRIANZA 750MLRegion: Spain
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The winery was founded in 1988 and is located in the town of Penafiel. Pago de Carraovejas means "the place where the sheep walk by", a loose translation. The ongoing pursuit of excellence best defines the career of Jose Maria Ruiz, Pago's founder and principal shareholder.
In 1987 Jos Maria Ruiz leads a group of wine loving Segovians and together they conceive the idea of creating a winery in a region that can produce good reds. Three reasons made them choose the hillsides of Carraovejas, in Penafiel. First, Penafiel has been historically, the hub of the Ribera del Duero wine making region, and the area with more potential of all the Spanish wine making regions. Second, its proximity to Segovia. And third and probably the most important reason, because the elders of the village remembered the hillsides of Carraovejas as the best grape ripening site, as later confirmed by numerous studies.
Naturally, choosing the right location, land and climate was essential. Three kilometers outside Penafiel, in the sunny enclave formed by the valleys of the Botijas River, a tributary of the Duero River only four kilometers apart the land enjoys a microclimate created by the sweetening influence of the Duero River, the dominant west winds that keep the vines healthy and the south facing aspect of the softly rolling hillsides, sheltered from the damaging effects of the north wind and devastation from the spring frosts and autumn freezes. The perfect conditions for a thriving vineyard: sun and air.
They had found the place and it was Carraovejas. All they had to add was a component of quality and technological edge to optimize the already favorable conditions the area offered. This formula allowed them to make the first Ribera del Duero wine containing 25 % of Cabernet Sauvignon at a time the Tinto Fino grape ruled absolute. They were also pioneers in bringing French oak barrels to the Ribera del Duero and to install drip irrigation in the estate, a system that provides the exact amount of water to the vines in a rational and specific manner, improving the quality of the red grape allocated for crianzas and reservas.
Tasting Notes: Robert Parker- One of the most reliable Crianzas and an incredible local successes in Spain, the 2015 Crianza is a subtle, harmonic and elegant blend of Tempranillo (Tinto Fino) with some 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot, fermented in stainless steel and oak vats and matured in French and American oak barrels for one year before it was bottled. With 15% alcohol it's not a shy wine, but it's nicely balanced, the oak is present but integrated with the fruit, and the palate is full bodied and round, with lush tannins and a very tasty finish.
Wine Spectator- Smoky, sanguine and loamy earth notes give this big red a savory character, featuring a rich core of plum and blackberry flavors, with licorice and floral details emerging on the finish. Dense but balanced, presenting a long, smoky finish. Tinto Fino, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.