Paso-Primero, Somontano, Spain


Paso-Primero is a really interesting wine project that began in 2015 in Somontano run by Thomas and Emma Holt. They hail from Shropshire (England) and previously made wine in Niagara, Canada, but they found that the winters there were just a bit too harsh for them. So after a decade of making and selling wines for other people, but decided it was time to do their own thing and they headed to Spain, where they found a winery in Somontano called Batan de Salas who they could work for, and at the same time build up their own wine brand.

The result is Paso Primero, and these are the wines, including two new wines, the Paso-Proximos that should retail at around £15.

Paso Primero Tinto 2022 Somantano, Spain
13.5% alcohol. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah, Garnacha and Moristel. Mixed elevage in tank, concrete and oak. This is focused and spicy with dense, grippy black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, showing some flesh, but also some savoury spicy notes, hints of coffee, some clove and a touch of tar. At the core of this wine, though, there’s vibrant fruit. 90/100

Paso Primero Pasotismo Tinto 2020 Somantano, Spain
14.5% alcohol. A blend of Syrah, Moristel, Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is vibrant, intense and focused with a spicy, savoury, slightly woody edge to the sleek, focused blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Structured and focused, with hints of cedar and clove adding some detail to the vivid black fruits. Good balance here with a grainy, grippy finish. 90/100

Paso Primero Pasotismo Moristel 76 2021 Somontano, Spain
12% alcohol. 15% whole bunch. Pasotismo is the name for collaborations with Batan de Salas, their parent winery in Spain. Moristel is an indigenous variety pretty much unique to the Somantano region, and this is a vineyard planted in 1976. There’s a touch of wildness here with herbs, tar and spice on the nose, alongside sweet plummy fruit. Vivid, fresh, tangy palate with a touch of wasabi, some Szechuan pepper and lovely strawberry and raspberry fruit. Juicy and vivid. Such an intriguing wine, with some grippy tannins but also lightness and brightness. 92/100

Paso Primero Pasotismo Blanco 2021 Somantano, Spain
11.5% alcohol. A blend of Chardonnay, Macabeo and Alcañon. This is so bright and detailed with a citrus core and some stony, mineral notes, with lime, lemon and a slight pithiness. Vivid with a lovely grip, framing the fruit really nicely. There’s wonderful restraint here. 91/100

Paso-Próximo Blanco 2021 Somontano, Spain
A blend of Macabeo and Alcañon, with some skin contact, fermented and matured in concrete. Stony, mineral and aromatic with lime and green herbs. The palate is bright and fruity with some mandarin, orange peel as well as pear, aniseed and a touch of peachy richness. Lovely balance here between the rich fruit and the fresh, more savoury mineral elements. Has real presence. 92/100

Paso-Próximo Tinto 2021 Somantano, Spain
A blend of moristel, garnacha and parraleta, fermented in concrete with varying levels of stem contact and held in tank for around a month before pressing. Bold and juicy with nice cherry and plum fruit, as well as a touch of tar and spice. There’s a savoury restraint here, as well as ripe fruit. It tastes like grapes that are well adapted to place, just reaching ripeness at vintage time. There’s freshness and florality, and the slight woody notes should integrate completely in a year or so leaving a silky elegance. Taut and a bit grippy on the finish, but with lovely focus and balance. 92/100