D.O. Campo de Borja (Aragón)
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Pagos del Moncayo is a small family winery born in 2006 under the protection of Denomination of Origin Campo de Borja. It was created by the winemaker Pedro Aibar, who was President of D.O. Campo de Borja for many years, and his son, also Pedro Aibar, oenologist, who began his professional career in the Barbastro Cooperative. He later moved on to Bodegas Pirineos, and then to Viñas del Vero, from the minute of its start-up and for 20 harvests. In 2010 he was appointed as the General Director of El Coto de Rioja, and also as the Director of Viñedos Barón de Ley, which manages the group's own farms.
History of the winery
The winery is located in the vicinity of Vera del Moncayo, at the foot of the Sierra del Moncayo, in the heart of the Iberian Mountain Range as it passes through Aragon, province of Zaragoza.
Although the winery is relatively new (2006), the vineyards, a little more than 7 hectares with plantations of Red Grenache and Syrah, have been in the Aibar family for a long time. This means that they have Grenache vines that are over 80 years old, providing the family with the best guarantee of a quality wine-growing management.
For this reason, the richness of these vineyards is vital for the productions of its wines and for the Red Grenache, the traditional variety of the area, where its long growth cycle, its need of long hours of sun and its temperature demands, perfectly adapt to the conditions of the area. Also, its excellent hardiness and resistance to damages caused by the wind make it an essential ally when it comes to fighting the constant influence of the “Cierzo”, the winds predominant in the valley of the Ebro.
For the Aibar family, on the other hand, the Syrah variety is one of the best “partners in crime” of the Grenache. They come together in a perfect symbiosis, producing wines with a great personality which perfectly identify with their area of origin. These two varieties share the spotlight in the vineyards of Bodega Pagos del Moncayo. Their vineyards are located in the municipalities of Magallón and Bisimbre, divided into several farms. El Rincón de La Corona is located in Magallón. It is planted with more than 3,000 Grenache vines, on deep soils with gravel and surrounded by century-old olive groves, making it the base for the production of its young wine. La Marga, in Bisimbre, is its largest Grenache vineyard. It has more than 5,000 vines that need a longer ripening period, and which are planted on clayey soils, slightly sloping to the East. La Loma de Bisimbre, as its name suggests, is a small hill with 5,000 vines of Syrah planted on its hillside. These vines are cultivated on shallow soils with a fair amount of minerals, which allows them to produce their varietal Syrah red wine almost every year. Los Blanquizales, in Magallón, and whose name refers to "blanquizal" soils, is characteristic because of its white limestone slabs that occasionally emerge in the area. These soils are attractive for their humidity retention capacity and the way they reflect the sunlight. This makes them shadowy on the one side, and bright on the other. It is planted with 3,500 Syrah vines, allowing them to achieve ideal grapes that combine with the Grenache, from El Rincón de La Corona, to produce its young red wine.
Bodega Pagos de Moncayo intends to bring together tradition and technique. Since the beginning they went for an artisan production method, starting in the vineyard, where all the stages, from the pruning to the harvest, are carried out manually.
On the other hand, the inheritance of their ancestors when it comes to traditional grape stomping, a technique that has proven the Aibar family to be the most efficient method for the extraction of the entire qualitative potential of a magnificent grape.
They also apply century-old techniques in open, shallow presses, where the winemaker jumps inside with the harvest to mix and blend the paste with his hands and feet.
Harvest is performed manually, and grapes are placed in boxes of up to 20 kg. Partially destemmed grapes are vatted in these open presses, which can usually hold the harvest of one day. In these open presses, the grape is macerated for a week before it goes through alcoholic fermentation. Once the fermentation begins, the grapes are stomped to ensure that all the berries are broken down, and also to guarantee the proper maceration and extraction of colour from the grape. After fermentation, wines are separated from the fermentation marc using a traditional manual pressing system. This way, low yields are attained, ensuring the high quality of the resulting wines.
This commitment to traditional production has earned them recognition as a European reference in the sustainable production of wine by the EU project ECO-PROWINE, which they joined in 2013, in collaboration with Axial Vinos. The project tries to implement initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of winemaking. Its intentions are to evaluate the consumption, emissions and costs of each of the phases of the production process to optimise the product life cycle.
At the end of 2011, Bodega Pagos del Moncayo welcomed Axial Vinos into the company, guided by Louis Geirnaerdt and Eugenie Van Ekeris, who provide their extensive experience in the industry, giving the company new marketing and internationalisation instruments.
Axial Vinos is a company dedicated to the production of wines and wineries in a selection of Spanish Denominations of Origin since 1999. It currently runs 13 wineries, from where they export wines to distributors and retailers from all over the world.
Wines from the winery Pagos del Moncayo
The first wine produced by Pagos del Moncayo was that of the 2006 vintage, based on Grenache and Syrah. Five harvests later they released the first great wine born from the experience of previous harvests. At present, they produce 4 Pagos del Moncayo cru wines, under the generic label Prados.
Prados Fusión is a powerful and aromatic young red wine, made from Red Grenache and Syrah, practically at 50%, which come from the vineyards of Rincó de la Corona and Blanquizales. Here, the shades of the red fruit and the Mediterranean mountains typical of the Grenache stand out, as well as the jam and balsamic notes of the Syrah. It is a silky wine, easy to drink and enjoy.
Prados Collection Garnacha is a varietal red of Grenache from the vineyards of the farm La Marga, aged for 10 months in barrels. The notes of red fruit and liquorice stand out on a background of vanilla and coffee, granted by its ageing in the barrel. In the mouth it is dense, balanced, with good volume and round tannins. A wine that has already achieved a Gold Medal in the Berliner Wein Trophy with its vintage of 2012, a Gold Medal in the Monde Selection 2014 and a Gold Medal in Grenaches du Monde 2013.
Prados Collección Syrah is an unusual wine. In fact, it is the first 100% Syrah monovarietal produced with Denomination of Origin Campo de Borja. It is made from the Syrah vineyard of the plot La Loma, and it is aged for 10 months. It is a sweet and tasty wine, with deep aromas of wild fruits and violets, cassis, plum jam, black currants and blackberries, black olives and truffles. In the mouth it is powerful, with body but also with a silky texture.Prados Privé is more of an exclusive wine, a Syrah with a small percentage of Grenache (15%), and an ageing of 12 months in barrels. It is a red wine with fresh thyme and rosemary aromas, impregnated of the nearby meadows, with a palate of great amplitude, pure ripe fruit, silky, tasty and dense, with soft spiced hints given by the ageing process in barrels, and an immersive finish. A wine that has already achieved a Gold Medal in the Berliner Wein Trophy with its vintage of 2012, and a Gold Medal in the Monde Selection 2014 with the same vintage.