We don’t need another Rioja, We Need More PAGOS!!

What is a Vino De Pago??

D.O. in Spain is  like D.O.C.G in Italy or A.O.C in France. They are REGIONS that follow a list of guidelines and rules for making these wines. A PAGO is one specific Producer with Vineyards in Spain where only that specific Winery gets designated as a PAGO. Pretty much the only important rule they have to follow if they are lucky enough to be designated with special terroir and vineyards is, all the grapes used must come from their own vineyards in that specific PAGO. Currently there are only about a dozen PAGOS spread around Spain such as:, La Mancha, Valencia and Navarra. The Vino De Pago that is brand new to where I work at ABC Fine Wine is located in Navarra or the Northeast Region of Spain and the very first to receive this unique designation in the North Of Spain. 

Haceinda (Ranch or Farm) De Arinzano

Hacienda Bottle

I just picked up for review and this blog the 2011 Hacienda De Arinzano from the designated PAGO of Arinzano in Navarra. Cold winters, very mild springs and warm summers. From this Pago they blend 80% Tempranillo, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. They harvest pretty early and this wine is aged 14 months in French Oak. Soils are full of Loam, Sand, Rocks, Limestone and they use the most modern of Artisanal winemaking equipment and practices to represent the beautiful natural habitat of this Viticultural area  or PAGO. 

Wine Spectator Review


My Tasting Notes And Review

I agree this deserves to be considered a “SMART BUY” at $17.99. All my wines that are reviewed are opened 2 hours in advance and brought down to 65 degrees F and reviewed over the course of a 2 day period. Unlike Rioja or Ribera Del Duero this is an easy drinking wine that is ready to go now and won’t upset anyone’s Red Wine Palate. You can drink this by itself or with food. Unlike Riojas that use 100% American Oak which some like and some don’t, I found no evidence of American Oak only French and very little NEW barrels. Upon research It is 100% aged in French Oak 40% New and 60% Neutral. I may be dating myself but on first sniff, It reminded me of every single Sunday Morning growing up as a child in Brooklyn, New York where my father would wake the whole house up using one of his old fashioned , beat up Aluminum, Percolators permeating the entire second floor of the home with aromas of Chock Full of Nuts coffee. I  don’t even drink coffee but I just love the smell especially this bouquet not some modern FRENCH PRESS. So you know it’s a definite OLD WORLD Wine when Fruit is secondary to the Aromas of Earth, Coffee, Flowers followed by some black cherry mixed with black raspberry. 

On the palate a very sexy, smooth mouthfeel with more black raspberry coming through strong but not a Fruit Bomb by any means, juicy however, and then finishing with a very refined integrated tannins that had no grip at all and a scraping of a fresh French Vanilla Bean and a very very long finish inviting you for a second sip. 

What Did I Pair It With??

Anything on the Grill such as Pork Tenderloin, Filet, Chicken and even Oily Fish such as Salmon or Tuna, Olive Tapenade or Tapas and Cheeses that are not too Aged like a Young Manchego or Mahon and throw in some Serrano Ham ..It is a very versatile easy drinker that I go one point less than Wine Spectator with 90 Points. It was delicious. OH I FORGOT.. What did Larry The Bachelor pair it with…..ok don’t laugh…….Hacienda Pizza

LOOK PEANUT GALLERY… It is no fun to use my cooking skills for myself only. On a budget I couldn’t resist a 2 for Price on a Spinach and Mushroom Personal FROZEN Pizza (I drizzled some EVOO on it to make believe it wasn’t FROZEN) and it actually really worked well. So imagine if you had this wine with Real Food. 

If you have had wines from Spain you are up to your ears in American Oak Aged Riojas that are double this price, then you need a Vinos De Pago. More Affordable, More Drinkable Now and even works with FROZEN PIZZA.. 

Grape-fully yours, Larry



2 thoughts on “We don’t need another Rioja, We Need More PAGOS!!

  1. Thank you Larry for introducing us to Hacienda De Arinzano! Bryce and I really enjoyed it! I think it is my favorite so far. I taste berries and it is so smooth. I would easily give this wine as a gift to my friends and family.

    1. Hi Lois and Bryce.
      I know what your budget range is and I always try to keep you there as i do my own self. Every once in a while like this when something is $5.00 or so over budget that I think is worth it, I recommend you splurge and I am very happy to hear that you were happy I suggested you did. The Hacienda De Arinzano 2011 is a very special and well made wine. I am glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. See you soon. Only gift it to Friends or Family that you actually LIKE lol.. Cheers

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