DOP, DOC, DOQa, IGP, Qualitätswein, 1er Cru, Grand Cru Classé... Trying to get your head around Europe's plethora of wine laws can sometimes seem like an impossible task. And to make it even more difficult, there are new classifications and laws added every year, such as the Vino de Pago DO which was introduced in 2003 as a new category for Spanish wines. The purpose of it was to distinguish single estates that had exceptional terroir, much like Grand Cru vineyards in France, and they would sit at the very top of the appellation pyramid.
Our new producer, Dehesa del Carrizal is one such Vino de Pago and is located in the middle of the Montes de Toledo, near the Cabañeros National Park, about a 2 hour drive south west of Madrid. The Mediterranean climate with Atlantic influences, paired with the clay and quartz rich soils make it a particularly interesting site for the cultivation of mostly traditional French varieties. As per the DOP laws, the whole process from growing the grapes, vinifcation and bottling must take place within the confines of the estate and to put it simply, the outcomes are amazing.
2016 Chardonnay, Dehesa del Carrizal DOP
ONLY £75.51 per case in bond
or £17.70 per bottle inc. duty/VAT
95 Points Guía Repsol, 92 Points Guía Peñín
We knew we would like this wine from the first time we stuck our noses into the glass and were welcomed with white fruit aromas along with notes of honey and delicious pastries. The mouthfeel, while not quite luscious is certainly heading in that direction.
And not to say that this is a sweet wine; it is bone dry yet wonderfully aromatic and soft with a really long finish. The production is once again very meticulous, including temperature-controlled fermentation in French oak and 3-month ageing with battonage on fine lees.
Denis Dubourdieu, owner of numerous Bordeaux estates and a big name in the wine world infamously said that Spanish Chardonnays could rival some of Burgundy's finest. Now how's that for value!
2013 MV Dehesa del Carrizal DOP
ONLY £42.51 per case in bond
or £11.10 per bottle inc. duty/VAT
Silver at Decanter World Wine Awards, Gold at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles
This dynamic wine is a blend of Carrizal's best grape varieties and it changes year on year based on which grapes fared the best in that vintage. It is always going to a blend of up to four of the following; the fleshy Syrah, the ageworthy Cabernet Sauvignon or the fruity and floral Merlot and Tempranillo.
The resulting wine is always versatile and incredibly food friendly, offering an elegant palate of ripe blackberries and blueberries along with some toast, spice and a touch of earthiness.
2013 Syrah Dehesa del Carrizal DOP
ONLY £69.51 per case in bond
or £16.50 per bottle inc. duty/VAT
Bronze at Decanter World Wine Awards, Silver at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles
It's quite rare to come across a 100% Syrah from Spain, but among the new(ish) Vino de Pago estates it is becoming more common. The Carrizal winemakers have a soft spot for Syrah and they treat it with special care; initially fermenting in tanks, then transferring to new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, only to then spend one year in 2-4 year French oak barrels and finally a further 18 months in bottle before being released to the world.
The result: an intense wine brimming with ripe berry compote, black olives and warm toasty notes. A big, robust and mouth-filling wine, that, despite its intensity, has a precise and exquisite finish.
2013 Colección Privada Dehesa del Carrizal DOP
ONLY £107.01 per case in bond
or £24.40 per bottle inc. duty/VAT
93 Points Guía Peñín, 91 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This is the pinnacle of what Dehesa del Carrizal do. Only released when vintage conditions are perfect, the detail and care that goes into the production are awe-inspiring.
The blend that can be made up of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo create a complex and intriguing nose full of floral, mineral, balsamic, berry and spice notes. The first sip mirrors the nose but is joined by flavours of dark chocolate, toffee and toast.
Each variety is vinified separately and aged in new French oak barrels. Blending always takes place after vinification and is adjusted every vintage to account for which varieties may have fared better either in the vineyard or during vinification. They spend about 18-20 months perfecting the blend, and sometimes certain varieties don't even make it!
We look forward to hearing from you.