For all its reputation as a rising star on the Spanish scene over the past decade or two, the landscape of Ribera del Duero is suffused in centuries of wine heritage, from gnarled Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) vines of venerable age to the labyrinthine wine cellars that wind beneath the streets of the town of Aranda de Duero.
Pago de los Capellanes has a recently expanded vineyard and a stunning modern winery, but the name itself shares its long history, dating back to the 14th century, when the God-fearing populace of nearby Pedrosa de Duero donated parcels of land to the local chaplains in recognition of their religious administrations.
The Church lost the land centuries ago, but the name lingers on in the five-strong line-up of wines crafted by oenologist Paco Casas. It's proof that great wines can have a straightforward philosophy: a Joven, Crianza and Reserva, plus two single parcel wines, all 100% Tinto Fino.
Beneath this apparent simplicity, however, lies a ceaseless quest for improvement, exemplified by an experimental approach to maturation, with Casas trying out as many as 22 different types of French oak, seasoned for anything from two to five years and using varying levels of toasting.
The winery has been expanded, but here too there is respect for the past: from the outset, the architecture has been deliberately designed to showcase the remarkable 800-year-old walnut trees at the buildings' centre.
125ha of vineyards nestled around 8 ancient walnut trees making up 35 different plots with a maximum yield of 5000kg/ha, each vinified seperately in the state of the art winery designed by Jesus Manzanares. These are wines of class and elegance that will only get better with time.
During the 30 days fermentation period, the wine is pumped over and stirred daily to control extraction, density, temperature and evolution of the yeast. After fermentation, the wine then undergoes malolactic fermentation. A temperature of 20ÂºC is maintained for a period of 22 days, the wine is separated from the lees and transferred directly into oak barrels without undergoing filtration, fining or cold treatment. The wine is aged for 12 months in new French Oak barrels, and then undergoes another 12 months in bottle.
A very intense cherry colour with cardinal red rims. Very frank in the nose, with aromas of ripe red fruit and balsamic hints. Smooth in the mouth, filling the palate with exquisite flavours of plum and blackcurrant, plus a long and elegant finish. Well-balanced and with a lively acidity.
A great accompaniment to fillet steak or slow cooked lamb shanks.