The Pago de Carraovejas Estate
The Pago de Carraovejas winery was founded in 1988 and is located in the town of Peñafiel. Pago de Carraovejas means “the place where the sheep walk by”, a loose translation. The ongoing pursuit of excellence best defines the career of José María Ruiz, Pago's founder and principal shareholder. Working his way through the restaurant trade (cook, waiter & sommelier) in his hometown of Segovia; José María, founded his own restaurant in 1982 and it soon became one of the city's top-rated venues. The winery was a logical extension of José María insistence on serving his restaurant clients the very best. Today he not only makes his own top quality house wine; but also raises heritage-breed pigs for his culinary specialty: Segovia-style roast suckling pìg. The commercial success of the Pago de Carraovejas wines has been spectacular since the first vintage (1991) hit the streets in 1993. In addition to the 100,000 bottles opened annually at the restaurant, the wines have become a must for quality restaurant wine lists in all of Spain. Every vintage is quickly sold out and allocations continue to be hard to come by.
The Pago de Carraovejas Vineyards
Pago de Carraovejas is a single vineyard wine. The Finca comprises of 140 hectares, all red grapes and planted 75% to Tempranillo and 25% to Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are situated on the southern flank of Carraovejas ridge at 850 meters above sea level. The local micro-climate is harsh and dry: cold winters, hot summers and an annual rainfall less than 400 mm. The soils are low in nutrients with a mix of limestone, chalk and sand. Carefully metered drip irrigation controls vine stress, which along with the terrain, soils and micro-climate, produces grapes of optimum concentration and ripeness, vintage after vintage.
Pago de Carraovejas Winemaking
Production is at 50,000 cases and the winery uses a 50 - 50 combination of French (Allier) and American (Ohio and Missouri) oak of which 33% is new oak each year. They currently make Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva styles, no Tinto Joven here. Only 10% of their wine is exported. The maceration of the reds occurs in fat stainless steel tanks suspended off of a single plane of waffled stainless. Enologist Almudena Calvo oversees the winemaking, based on a philosophy that revolves around 4 essential points:
1) the Pago de Carraovejas hillside terrain as the only source of grapes,
2) keeping grapes as undamaged as possible as they go into the fermenters,
3) Large skin contact surface in the fermenters (unique fermentation vessels),
4) 25% of the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pago de Carraovejas Cuesta Liebres is made from 90% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Following the hottest and then moved to fermenting containers where gravity aids the fermentation process. Aged 24 months in new French oak barrels. Clarified with natural egg white. Intense red cherry color with purple hues. Ripe fruit aromas, vanilla notes. Suave and unctuous in the mouth. A strong and noble character.
Vivid ruby. Intensely perfumed dark berry and floral pastille scents show excellent purity and lift, with a hint of white pepper and building spiciness. Supple and open-knit, offering intense raspberry, vanilla and lavender pastille flavors that put on weight with air. Clean, bright and seamless on the impressively persistent finish, with the red fruit and floral notes echoing strongly. - Vinous 93 Points
Pago de Carraovejas Cuesta Liebres is made from 90% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The plot is located on a terraced hillside located at 900 m above sea level with slopes that range between inclines of 30% and 40%. Red cherry color with purple hues. Ripe fruit aromas, vanilla notes. Suave and unctuous in the mouth. A strong and noble character.
The harvest is carried out by hand using small crates and after passing through a refrigerated container it is transferred into tanks via gravity. The alcoholic and malolatic fermentation is carried out in small French “Haute Futaie” Oak casks with unique and original local yeasts and fermenting bacteria from the vineyard itself, to bring out the very best of the terroir, respecting the uniqueness of each and every vintage. Clarified with egg whites and bottled by gravity with natural cork stoppers.
Made from 78% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot, aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, this is an elegant medium to full-bodied wine with ripe red fruits, sweet spices combined with toasty notes. The tannins provide texture and roundness and the finish is long and intense.
The 2014 vintage was marked by a very early start to the cycle. In April, the vineyards at Pago de Carraovejas already showed signs of activity, which is highly unusual. It was a very hot spring leading into a summer that was cooler than usual and enhanced by an unbeatable end to the cycle with a September that was more like summer than Autumn. The slow, careful grape-picking began on 26 September and ended on 18 October with the picking of the Cabernet Sauvignon. The rain around the time of the grape-picking lengthened the process but the quality and health parameters remained intact for such a peculiar—as regards weather—and promising vintage due to its quality.
We make our Reserva using selected grapes from vineyards with a greater potential for performance, in other words, with a fruit concentration and, at the same time, appropriate levels of acidity and firm, ripe tannins. Our process respects the fruit and we work slowly and meticulously: we pick our grapes by hand and we transport them in crates. Depending on the plot of land they come from and the time they arrive at the winery, the grape may be put into cold rooms to prevent oxidation and preserve their aroma.
We then perform a second selection process at the winery, rejecting any grapes that do not meet our criteria, using a selection table. The grapes are brought into the cellar and are allowed to settle naturally.
The vats are filled slowly and gently. Depending on the characteristics that we detect during the tasting, we ferment the grapes in stainless steel vats or French oak.
For this fermentation, we use our own yeast, from our vineyard and is isolated by our team. This concept is partially responsible for the character of Carraovejas. During fermentation, a relatively low temperature is maintained, using dry ice if necessary. After the alcoholic fermentation, the undergo spontaneous malolactic fermentation, which takes place in stainless steel or oak, depending on the characteristics of the wines. The barrel ageing is marked by respect for the character of the wine. Most of it was aged in extra-fine-grain, French oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months – the time it remains in the cellar before being put on the market, bottled and sealed with selected natural cork.
A great match with red meat, game, pastas, ham and hard cheeses.
A magical wine, the 2014 Reserva from winemaker Almudena Calvo is largely Tempranillo blend with 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot, all aged in French oak for a year. Deep and powerful, with beautiful concentration, it’s nevertheless incredibly elegant and seamless on the palate, and shows terrific complexity in its blackcurrants, graphite, white flowers, and vanilla bean aromas and flavors. A wine of great intensity as well as purity, it builds with time in the glass and has a fabulous finish that won’t quit. It’s not for those craving lightweight aromas and flavors, but it’s a thrilling wine. Drink it any time over the coming 10-15 years. - Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Pago de Carraovejas Ribera Del Duero is made from 90% Tempranillo, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot
The Pago de Carraovejas Ribera del Duero vintage marks a turning point in the history of the winery. From now on, the Crianza and Reserva are unified in this wine that focuses on the terroir and character rather than the time of aging. Its renewed label reflects the three key elements of this red: origin, soul and emotion.
Pago de Carraovejas Ribera Del Duero is made with grapes grown in the Botijas River valley, and planted between 1988 and 2011. Our work over the last 30 years has been geared to handcrafted viniculture, that puts as much care as possible into the microclimate conditions and the details. We have placed particular attention on the maintenance of the soil by plant cover that already grows spontaneously. It allows us to develop the ecosystem of the valley, which we respect scrupulously, using organic fertilizer and sulfur as the sole basis of our viticulture.
Depending on which plot they come from and the time they enter the winery, the grapes may be deposited in cold chambers to prevent oxidation and preserve the aroma. We carry out a two-part selection: first on the vine, where we choose the bunches, and then on a belt in the winery, where we remove the grapes that do meet the necessary conditions. The grapes enter the winery and are transported with the assistance of gravity. The deposits are filled slowly and gently. Depending on the characteristics that we detected when tasting the grapes, we ferment them either in stainless steel deposits or French oak barrels. For years we have worked with our own yeast that has been isolated from the vines by our team. This work is also partly responsible for the Carraovejas character.
The wine was aged in barrels for around twelve months.
Intense graphite, orange peel, chocolate and blood orange with intense red-cherry essence. The palate has a very long, succulent feel with great flesh and freshness. Deep, powerful and focused. Drink or hold. -James Suckling 93 Points
Domaine Odoul-Coquard Nuits-Saint-Georges Aux Saints-Jacques is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir
This wine is made from 70-year-old vines that were inherited from Sebastien's grandmother. The wine is aged for 12 months in Allier barriques (95% Francois Freres) for 1 year (50% new, 25% 1 yr-old, 25% 2 yrs-old). Aux St. Jacques is located in the northern part of the Nuits-Saint-Georges appellation, just south of Vosne-Romanée.
A wine that is very representative of the Nuits Saint Georges terroir. Strong, with firm tannins and a lingering finish. Ideal to wait for 3 to 5 years before tasting. A great pairing with mature cheeses and spicy meals.
Dense and smoky, revealing black cherry, blackberry, earth and sandalwood flavors. Balanced and long, with a tactile finish. Best from 2019 through 2029. 30 cases imported.- Wine Spectator 91 Points
Velette Orvieto Secco is made from 30% Trebbiano, 30% Grechetto, 20% Malvasia, 15% Verdello and 5% Drupeggio.
The result of centuries of devotion, selection and experience, this wine is the taste portrait of this area: cool as the air on the Orvieto rock, soft as the surrounding hills, direct/candid/plain/frank/open and sincere like the local people. The typically straw yellow colour with greenish tints illustrates its youthfulness. Delicate floral flavours with a light acidity to preserve them melt on the palate and then there is a characteristic slightly bitter after-taste. A joyful wine, sociable, rounded in its reliable simplicity, a wine that is always a good accompaniment.
Excellent as a pleasant, light-hearted aperitif, it goes well with vegetable or fish hors d'oeuvres and first courses in general. Recommended temperature: 8 – 10 ° C
A tribute to the three families of workers who were responsible for the farms on this hillside from the early 19th century and who have cultivated the grape varieties of Orvieto D.O.C. for generations.
Pairs with vegetables, fish, seafood, fresh and aged cheeses.