Ribera del Duero: Pago De Los Capellanes

Website: Pago de Los Capellanes

One of the top wineries in the region, Pago de Los Capellanes is owned by Paco Rodero and his wife Conchita Villa. In the mid-1980s they inherited their family’s vineyards in Pedrosa del Duero, and after a period of selling grapes to others they decided to make their own wine.

First vintage was in 1996, and since then they have expanded their vineyard holdings to a sizeable 150 hectares. Of these, about 30 hectares are being replanted. They also have a second winery, O Luar do Sil in Valdeorras, where they focus on Godello.

The debut vintage

Viticulture is conventional, but chemicals are only used when necessary. In this part of the Ribero del Duero region there’s a sizeable diurnal temperature shift of around 20 C in the growing season. Soils are clay/gravel/sand, without much limestone influence. Just Tinto Fino (tempranillo) is grown here, with yields of around 5 tons/hectare.

The winery is state of the art, with a large winch attached to the ceiling so that movement of grapes can be achieved with gravity rather than pumping. The grapes are all hand harvested into small crates, then sorted, destemmed and then taken to vat for fermentation. Then they go to 300 litre French oak barrels.  

The winch system: using gravity rather than pumping


Pago De Los Capellanes Joven 2018 Ribera del Duero, Spain
14.5% alcohol. 300 000 bottles. This is fresh and concentrated with structured, pure black cherry and raspberry fruit. This has grippy tannins with lovely vitality and freshness. A vivid, tannic, intense joven of great appeal. Very fresh and expressive. 92/100

Pago De Los Capellanes Crianza 2016 Ribera del Duero, Spain
13.5% alcohol. 500 000 bottles. This was the second year they used the inverted stainless steel vats. There’s a lovely freshness to this wine which shows vibrant raspberry and cherry fruit, with good acidity and some taut, fine-grained oak, as well as good tannins. Quite made, but really nice with good freshness and focus. 92/100

Pago De Los Capellanes Reserva 2015 Ribera del Duero, Spain
14.5% alcohol. 80 000 bottles. 100% new French oak. The first year of the new stainless steel, inverted vats. There’s a strong oak imprint here with some vanilla and cedar notes. This has firm tannins and a sense of brightness from the acidity. Bright and expressive with lovely focused red and black fruits. There’s a lot of oak here, but it may well integrate with time. 91/100

Pago De Los Capellanes Parcela El Nogal 2015 Ribera del Duero, Spain
15% alcohol. 20 000 bottles. There’s a sweetness to this wine, with the substantial oak integrating well with the lush black cherry and blackberry fruit. Has some herb and cedar character, as well as hints of ash and tobacco leaf. Has a lushness and richness to the fruit, but there’s still good structure and weight. This has a lot of potential, and should reach a mellow future given a decade in bottle. Ripe and quite oaky. 93/100

Pago De Los Capellanes Parcel El Picón 2014 Ribera del Duero, Spain
14.5% alcohol. 2000 bottles. 1.5 hectare plot. Aged in Taransaud P5 barrels. Concentrated, tannic and intense. Lush with rich flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant, with some vanilla and coconut emerging on the finish from the oak. Such concentration here: ripe and lush, yet at the same time tight-wound and quite bright. Volume knob turned up to 11, with firm tannins and bright acidity. Currently hard to drink, but impressive in terms of its flavour intensity. 93/100

Pago De Los Capellanes Parcela El Picón 2012 Ribera del Duero, Spain (magnum)
14.5% alcohol. Super-concentrated with sweet cherries, blackberries and plums, as well as some spice and earth notes. Has vitality, with freshness and firm tannins. Notes of vanilla, cedar and earth and tar savouriness, with some softness to the fruit. There’s a hint of citrus peel here with lovely poise. There’s plenty of oak, but it is well integrated. Lovely stuff. 95/100

Pago De Los Capellanes Parcela El Picón 1999 Ribera del Duero, Spain
Second vintage of this wine. This has some earth and spice, with a strong savoury dimension. Has some herbs and cherry and strawberry fruit, with good structure and acidity. Mellow, spicy and mature with a dried herb and spice finish. Drinking very well, although it’s a little closed and square. The bottle had previously been coravined, so maybe this has affected the aromatics a bit. 91/100

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See also:

Ribera del Duero, an introduction