There is no doubt that the natural conditions of a region are what drive its development as a wine producing area, but the human factor is who ultimately decides whether the area is able or not to achieve recognition of their wines. Campo de Borja is a good example of the great value that has taken the human factor in its new development next to its star variety, Grenache, and relish the international Syrah in Pagos del Moncayo, which have served to position themselves in few years as a benchmark closely linked to the new wine was more cosmopolitan and modern Aragonese wines.
Pagos del Moncayo is a small family winery born under the Designation of Origin Campo de Borja in 2006 of the hand of the winegrower Pedro Aibar, former President of the DO Campo de Borja for many years, and his son, Pedro Aibar, winemaker, who started his career in the Cooperativa de Barbastro, which later end up in Bodegas Pyrenees, and then jumped to Viñas del Vero from minute one of its implementation and for 20 crops, until in 2010 he incorporated as CEO of El Coto de Rioja, and director of Vineyards Baron de Ley, a firm that manages the group's own farms.
History of the winery
The winery is located near Vera del Moncayo, at the foot of the Sierra del Moncayo, in the heart of the Iberian Range passing through Aragon, in the province of Zaragoza. Although the winery is relatively new (2006), the 7 hectares of vineyards have been in the hands of the Aibar family for over 80 years, which guarantees quality vineyard management.
The Garnacha is the traditional local grape variety. Its long growing season, its great need for sunshine and temperature are perfectly suited to the conditions of the area. Its important hardiness and resistance to wind damage make it an indispensable ally to resist the continuing influence of the “Cierzo”, the name given to the wind in the Ebro valley.
Then there is the Syrah grape, which is perhaps the best travelling companion for the Garnacha, since some of their viticultural and oenological characteristics are the same. The two varieties share the limelight in the vineyards of the Pagos del Moncayo winery, which are located in the municipalities of Magallón and Bisimbre and divded into several plots including,
El Rincon de La Corona, located in Magallón, planted on deep soils of gravels and surrounded by centuries old olive trees and home to 3.000 vines that are the basis for the development of their young red wine.
La Marga en Bisimbre, their largest vineyard of Garnacha grapes, situated on light slopes of clay based soil to the east and home to 5.000 vines that require a long maturation period.
Loma de Bisimbrea, as suggested by the name (Loma means Hill) is a small hill where they cultivate 5.000 vines of Syrah, home to shallow and mineral soils, where its fruits produce almost every year their best Syrah.
Los Blanquizales in Magallón, home to “blanquizal” soils, characteristic because of the white limestone slabs which crop out in the area occasionally. Soils are interesting because of their capacity to retain moisture and the reflection of sunlight: one side cold and the other luminous. Planted with 3.500 vines of Syrah, it allows the winery to achieve their ideal grapes to combine with Garnacha coming from the El Rincon de la Corona plot to produce their young red wine.
The Pagos de Moncayo winery works under the philosophy of combining tradition with modern technology. Ever since its foundation, the winery has carried out production using truly artisan methods, starting with the vineyard, where everything from the pruning to the harvest is carried out by hand.
Thought the heritage of their ancestors, the winery has recovered the traditional practice of stomping grapes, an artisanal technique that has proven to be most effective for extracting the full potential of a good quality grape.
Every season, we pick the grapes by hand and transport them in small containers of no more than 20 Kgs to protect the fruit. The grapes, partially destemmed, are placed in open vats. Each vat normally holds the result of an entire day of harvest. The grapes are macerated here for a week before the start of the alcoholic fermentation. After the start of fermentation, we crush the grapes under foot; the artisanal method developed to ensure the maximum extraction of the grapes’ potential and also the correct maceration and colour extraction. After fermentation the wine is separated from the fermentation residue by a traditional manual pressing system. This, through low yields, guarantees the highest quality of the wines.
The wineries commitment to craftsmanship was officially recognised in 2013 as a European benchmark in sustainable production by the EU project ECO-PROWINE. The project aims to implement initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of wine making, and evaluate the consumption rates, emission issues, and costs in order to make the Product Life Cycle more environmentally efficient
In late 2011, the Pagos del Moncayo winery welcomed by intergration of the Axial Vinos society, led by Louis Geirnaerdt and Eugenie Van Ekeris Forward, who together have brought their experience together in the sector, giving the company new tools for marketing and internationalization. Axial Wines Company has been dedicated to the development of wines and wineries in a selection of Spanish wines regions since 1999, currently with 13 wineries who export wines to distributors and retailers worldwide.
Wines from the Pagos del Moncayo winery.
The first wines to come from the Pagos del Moncayo was the 2006 harvest of Grenache and Syrah. Ever since, the winery has been producing great wines, drawing from experience on the previous harvests. Currently there are 4 Pagos del Moncayo wines under the Prados label.
Prados Fusión. This is a powerful and aromatic young red wine made from a near equal blend of Grenach and Syrah, taken from the Rincon de la Corona and Blanquizales plots. This wine highlights the tones of red fruit and the typical Mediterranean feel of Grenache, with notes of jam and balsamic from the Syrah. It is a silky wine, easy to understand and enjoy.
Prados ColecciónGarnacha. This is a single variety wine made with Grenache grapes taken from the Marga plot. The wine is aged for 10 months in oak, and highlights the tones of red fruit and licorice on a background of vanilla and coffee provided by its barrel aging. The palate is dense, balanced with good volume and round tannins. A wine that has already won the Gold Medal at the Berliner Wein Trophy with the vintage 2012, Gold Medal at the Monde Selection 2014 Gold Medal at Grenaches du Monde 2013.
Prados Colección Syrah. An unusual wine, since it is the first 100% single variety Syrah to be produced in the D.O Campo de Borja. It is made with Syrah grapes taken from the La Loma plot, and is aged for 10 months. This is a tasty and friendly wine with deep aromas of wild fruits, violets, cassis, plum jam, black currant and blackberry, black olives and truffles. This wine has a powerful, full-bodied yet silky texture.
Prados Privé. This is perhaps the wineries most exclusive wine, a Syrah with a small percentage of Grenache (15%) and aged for 12 months in oak. It is a red with fresh aromas of rosemary and thyme from the nearby meadows, with a wide palate, pure, ripe, silky, rich and dense with fruit with subtle spicy notes from its oak ageing. A wine that has already won the Gold Medal at the Berliner Wein Trophy 2014 with the vintage 2012 and Gold Medal at the Monde Selection 2014 with the same vintage.