Ribera Del Duero is one of Spain’s most exclusive classified wine making regions and home to some of the most sought after red wines in the world. The high altitudes of Spain’s northern plateau, sun-drenched summers, and dry soils of limestone and clay provide superb growing conditions for the Tempranillo grape, Spain’s most important grape.
After a few weeks of working my way through the Spanish wine section at Saratoga Wine Exchange, I found Pagos De Quintana tucked away on a lower shelf. Knowing very little about Spanish wine at the time, a few key words on the label, along with the price, convinced me it was a solid buy. The word ‘crianza’ is applied to wines with a minimum of two years aging, with at least one year in oak barrels. Ribera Del Duero, the region from which this wine originated, was the second very positive indicator of a promising wine. This wine also received a 90 rating from Robert Parker, and while numerical rating should not be an make or break prerequisite on deciding to buy a wine, it does give you some perspective. For $14.95, this wine was starting to look like an impressive value, and it only got better.
Pagos had aromas of intense blackberry, plum, licorice, cedar and soft spice. Ripe fruit, swelling tannins, leather, and creamy flavors and textures carried this full-bodied Tempranillo amazingly, straight through to the incredibly long velvety finish.
After falling in love with this wine, I went back to the wine store and bought the remaining 4 bottles they had in inventory. I still have two left, but unfortunately have heard no word of a new vintage being released any time soon. There are still a few bottles poking around on the Internet, but in short supply. This is often the case with reasonably priced great Spanish Tempranillo that outclasses many French and American Cabernet blends in the same price range.