Vino de Pago, Spain
Alc. 14.5 %
Pago de los Balagueses Syrah, from Bodegas Vegalfaro in Spain's Valencia region, is truly a special wine. The vineyard is one of only 17 in the country to be awarded the prestigious D.O. Vino de Pago designation, the very top tier of Spanish wine classifications. Only sites with unique microclimates can be named Vino de Pago, and the wines they produce are highly sought-after for their quality and distinction.
Bodegas Vegalfaro was formed by father and son Andrés and Rodolfo Valiente in 1999, but winemaking in the region dates back some 2,500 years, and is thought to be one of the earliest examples of grape cultivation in the Mediterranean. The Valiente family carries on this proud tradition with ultimate respect to the land, using only organic farming practices to coax the very best expression of their special terroir.
The grapes for this 100% Syrah are hand-harvested and given an extended cold soak before being fermented with wild yeast. After ageing in 70% new oak for 10-12 months, the wine is bottled and aged for a further 6 months before release. Quantities are limited, so we bought everything we could! It arrives to us at the perfect stage of maturity, but if you can stand to wait it will reward cellaring for a further 7-10 years. Drink at a cool 18 C.
Classic Syrah notes of pepper and cured meats surround a core of fresh blackberries, blueberries, and a hint of aged balsamic vinegar. There's a subtle floral element reminiscent of violets that adds some perfume to complement the exotic spice and blue & black fruit. In short, this wine smells amazing!
Richly textured and full bodied, the Pago de los Balagueses Syrah explodes on the palate with flavours of ripe dark berries. The oak is very well integrated, providing structure and fine tannins. It's silky-smooth and has a long, balanced finish, ending on notes of blackberry with fresh, herbal acidity. Delicious now after an hour or two in a decanter, but this wine is built for the long haul and will improve further with age!
Most Syrahs need protein, and this stunning example is no exception. Match with game meats, or try with lamb shanks braised in red wine and herbs - anything to draw out the subtle earthiness and spice of the wine.