Marques de Vargas Hacienda Pradolagar Reserva Especial DOC Rioja Alta

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Notes Bodegas y Viñedos del Marqués de Vargas is undoubtedly one of the most impressive cellars in Rioja today. Situated just outside Logroño in a privileged part of DOC Rioja, it has a superb and ultra-modern winery that produces wines only of the very highest quality from grapes grown in vineyards that are known as ‘La Hacienda de Pradolagar’ and belong to the family of the Marqués de Vargas. They border those of the Marqués de Murieta and the Marqués del Romeral, an area popularly known as ‘Los Tres Marqueses’. The 65-hectare estate, where the family has been growing vines for four generations, carries on the old Rioja tradition of the ‘bodegas de hacienda’ in which the wine is produced exclusively from the grapes grown on the family Estate. The location of the property in the heart of the Ebro valley enables it to enjoy both Atlantic and Mediterranean influences, long hours of sunshine, low rainfall not exceeding 400 mm per year and protection from the westerly winds, ideal conditions for growing Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Garnacha. Absolute priority is given to fruit quality. The vines receive no irrigation and only natural fertilisers are occasionally applied – herbicides or pesticides are not used. The vineyards are pampered as if they were gardens! Pruning, vital for good fruit, takes place first in winter to enhance fruit production and then again in summer once the vegetative cycle is under way. Fruit thinning and the removal of leaves are also carefully carried out. For the Hacienda Pradolagar Reserva Especial from 2005, a vintage qualified as excellent, and in line Marques de Vargas’ philosophy of seeking maximum quality, only 6,750 litres of wine were specially selected after the winemaking process was completed. 40% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 10% Garnacha Tinta and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from average 38 year old vines from their 3 hectare La Victoria Estate. After fermentation in stainless steel vats of 3,000 kg at 31deg.C for 12 days, remontage and pumping occurred daily for another 20 days with grapeskins. Once racking and malolactic fermentation were completed, ageing began in January 2006 in 30 new Russian and French oak Haute Futaie (Seguin Moreau), racked twice every 5 months, and then every 6 months. Total ageing: 22 months. Bottled January 2008 without clarification or filtration and released June 2010. Deep, intense black cherry colour with violet rim. Very complex spicy, blackberry nose with hints of leather and toasted cigar box. Structured, gamey, earthy notes combine with compact berry fruit, strong backbone and elegant tannins make this wine ready for drinking now but also with great potential for improvement in bottle.

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