Red wine Reserva. 23 months in French and American oak barrels. Winery: Marqués de Vargas. D.O.Ca. Rioja. (La Rioja) Variety: Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Mazuela and Other red varieties.
D.O.: D.O.Ca. Rioja
Marquesado de Vargas (Marquessate of Vargas) is a Spanish noble title created by king Charles II on 8 February 1700 in favour of Francisco Vargas y Lezema, Knight of the Order of Calatrava, Tax Advisor of H.M. and of the Courts in Accounting, Town Councillor and Mayor of Toledo (1689), Mayor of Madrid (1697). However, the history of the wines of Marqués de Vargas dates back to 1840, when Felipe de la Mata, VIII Marquis of Vargas, plants the first vines in the estate Hacienda Pradolagar, near Logroño.
Since then, four generations of this lineage have cultivated the vineyards of this property. A must in this entire story is the figure of Hilario de la Mata, X Marquis of Vargas and the father of the current Marquis. He was the president of the important winery group Franco Españolas and he also participated in Viña Salceda temporarily. Hilario, who was passionate about the world of wine just like his predecessors, always dreamt of having his own winery and creating wine with the family’s name. Unfortunately, he died very young and he wasn’t able to make his dream come true. Finally, in 1989, Pelayo de la Mata and his bothers saw their father’s dream come true when they built the current winery in Hacienda Pradolagar, in Logroño, in the heart of La Rioja Alta. This is how Bodegas y Viñedos del Marqués de Vargas was born, in honour of Mr Hilario de la Mata, who always wished to have his own winery and make wine with the family’s name.
Today, and apart from other businesses like the renowned importer and distributor Varma, Marqués de Vargas comprises a winemaking business group, where three wineries have something in common, that they all use singular vineyards, most of the time owned by themselves: Marqués de Vargas at the family farm of Rioja, the farm of Valdestremero in Bodega San Cristóbal, in Peñafiel (Valladolid) and the beautiful amphitheatre-shaped property of Pazo San Mauro in Salvaterra do Miño (Pontevedra), where the vineyards are cultivated on terraces and slopes that descend towards the river.
History of the winery
The property is comprised of 70 hectares, with 50 hectares of their own vineyard dedicated to production, divided into 16 plots that are vinified separately. The red varieties are Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano, Grenache and a small experimental amount of Maturana, as well as other experimental ones. Vines are cared for as if they were a garden and they do not use any kind of herbicides or pesticides. The vines are pampered throughout the year and they are harvested by hand, after part of the grapes are cut off when they are green to increase the quality of the remaining ones.
The president of the company is Mr Pelayo de la Mata y Pobes, whilst Ana Barrón is in charge of the technical and oenological part. More recently, the advisory team was joined by Xavier Ausás, one of the most prestigious oenologists of today. He is native to Gerona, but was brought up in Valladolid. At the age of 47, he has been trained in the most renowned French oenology centres, like the School of Viticulture and Oenology of Blanquefort (Bordeaux) and the National d’Oenologie of the University Paul Sabatier (Toulouse). He entered Vega Sicilia to do his internship and when he was only 29 years old, he was placed at the head of the technical direction of this prestigious Spanish group of wineries, where he made his iconic wines for 25 years.
Throughout the year, their vines are pampered just like if they were a garden. They prune them and cut off the excess grapes to increase the quality of the harvest. Marqués de Vargas contributes towards the care of the environment and practice sustainable agriculture. Therefore, they do not use herbicides nor pesticides in their vineyards. During the harvest, which is carried out by plots, the bunches enter the winery just a few minutes after they were picked. With a yield of between 4,500 and 5,000 kilos per hectare, the wines start to materialise at the time of the harvest itself, when the grapes are selecting in the vineyard.
The winery has all the technical advances, selection tables, deposits with temperature control, wooden vats, a spectacular barrel stock and the so-called “Cuviere”, designed by Michel Rolland, which allows them to separately vinify each one of the 16 plots. Then, they age their wines in French and American oak barrels. The winery is also a pioneer in using Seguin-Moreau Russian oak. They use barrels from the best coopers, Seguin Moreau, Demptos and Maury. They are used for a maximum of 5 years and each year they renew 20% of their barrel stock.
Wines from Marqués de Vargas
Below is the list of wines made by the winery Marqués de Vargas:
Marqués de Vargas Reserva is made with 75% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Grenache and 10% of other varieties. It is aged or 20 months in American, French and Russian oak barrels, with period racking every 5 months at the beginning, and then, every 6 months. It has an aroma of ripe fruit and liquorice, with a spicy, minty and soft touch of truffle. Structures, complex, powerful, silky, balsamic, with sweet and elegant tannins.
Marqués de Vargas Gran Reserva is made with 40% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 10% Grenache and 40% of other varieties. These varieties come from the farm La Victoria, with 3.3 hectares, and an average age of 50 years, planted on clayey-calcareous soils. The malolactic fermentation takes place partly in deposits and party in barrels. The wine is aged for 24 months in 30 new barrels of French and Russian oak, with periodic racking every 4 months at the beginning, and then, every 6 months. It has an intense, fresh and vibrant aroma, with fine notes of candied fruit on a balsamic, spicy background, with coffee and minty chocolate. It has a good structure, round and with sweet tannins that are elegantly polished during the wine’s long ageing.
Marqués de Vargas Selección Privada is a wine that is only made in the best vintages, with a very limited amount of bottles. It is an exclusive wine made with Tempranillo, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, cultivated on the farms of “El Cónsul”, “La Misela” and “Terrazas”, with vines that are over 41 years old on average. It is aged for 23 months in new Russian oak barrels, with period racking every 4 months at the beginning, and then, every 6 months. It has aromas of eucalyptus and menthol, very fresh and persistent. In the mouth, it is tasty, with sweet tannins, long and exquisite thanks to the good combination of acidity and tannins of oak from the Caucasus. It is a sophisticated, elegant wine, with a long life.
Hacienda Pradolagar is made with 75% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo, 5% Grenache and 10% of other varieties. These varieties come from the farm La Victoria, from vines that are an average age of 31 years, planted on clayey-calcareous soils. In each vintage, only an average of no more than 2,500 litres of wine are selected. They are aged in 10 new barrels made of Russian and French oak (Haute Fûtaie), with an average of 3,000 bottles per harvest. This wine has a very intense colour of ripe cherry. It has an intense and complex aroma thank to its noble ageing in new French oak barrels. Elegant aromas and warm and complex in the mouth. Its tannins and acidity are perfectly assembled. A wine to enjoy right now or to save for later.
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