Skip to main content

Wine of the Week: 2006 Pago Casa del Blanco 1605

"Great wines don’t make statements, they pose questions. To end with an exclamation mark is easy; when a question mark, perhaps not more difficult, but far more interesting."  - Hugh Johnson

Every once in a great while, you run into a wine that is very different from all the others sitting in the cellar, that have arrived via the sample train or otherwise. Oh sure it's produced from grapes all too familiar to even the casual wine drinkers among us. Here are two grapes which I don't often think of as complimenting each other, all too well. Yet, this 50/50 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah make for a harmonious blend, one which makes some very beautiful music together.

This wine left me with more than a few questions, I'm not sure they were all answered. But one question, what prompted the idea to blend these two grapes getting together in the first place? I know for some folks, this blend is not all that uncommon and you know they're quite right, it's not. But what is uncommon, at least from my perspective, is when this blend works so well, I feel compelled to write a review about it and highly recommend it everyone.


I've had the great pleasure of enjoying wines from three different "Pago Certified" Spanish wineries, so it's no surprise to me that this wine is an absolute stunner. When I talk about Pago Certification, many folks, even folks I regard as 'highly' informed, don't have the slightest idea what I'm talking about or they just vaguely aware and that's surprising to me.

So what is Vino de Pago? Well the way I read it, it's the highest geographic recognition a Spanish winery can receive and currently only 13 wineries in Spain have this designation. I'm told, it's superior to a DO, which only designates singular wines that come from a specific area with distinct climatic and soil condition.

Again it's a small club, and only the top estates have been granted the Denominacion de Origen de Pago status and are allowed to put in on their labels. If you'd like to know more, I wrote a small article on the subject here, it also contains a video interview.


I just read an article asserting it's not about the wine, it's not about the origin of the grapes, where they harvested from or when, no-no those things really don't matter when reporting a story about a wine or a winery. It was asserted those things are superfluous, the thing that matters is the "Cult of Personality".

To a certain point, I get the what the author was attempting to say, "c'mon with the wine is made in vineyard talk, there are so many other factors which influence how a wine will taste and smell", and all of that is true. But she went on to say stories written about wine and the winemakers who writers ultimately dialogue with should focus on the individuals story and tone down the terroir talk. This is the point where her and I depart ways, I don't believe it's one or the other, but a blend of both things can give the reader, what some would call, the full-orbed perspective.

If her statement was true, we'd all happily be drinking and slurping down Bradgelina wines and those of other famous celebrities, and I don't think too many folks reading this blog are doing that, perhaps I'm wrong, but that is my impression.

This particular property in Spain, Casa del Blanco, located about 120 miles south of Madrid, has some very specific soils types, seeing they have particular high levels of lithium in the soil, along with their limy and sandy soils you can see above, with a rocky, arid top soil which does not look one bit hospitable to the vine, who as you can see need a drip-line to keep them hydrated as needed.

I hope I've made my case above, because now it's time to dive into tasting note portion of the article. I found the nose, gracious and welcoming, boasting of fully in bloom lavender, while underbrush and blueberry played a minor role in the background. On the palate, a boat-load of freshly smoked meats, cracked pepper, dark ripe plums, wild growing black licorice and funky earthy note, I had trouble fully identifying.

This wine is sumptuous, from the first sip to the last drop, has enough acid to carry the ample fruit and keep things interesting over a long evening. The finish is long, lasting and memorable. You could age this wine for many more years to come, but I think it's drinking marvelously at the moment. No decanting, aerating or any other fuss or muss; soon as it's uncorked it's ready to rock.

I found that finishing a bottle like this, on your own wouldn't be too difficult of a task, but in having to share it over dinner with Mrs. Cuvee, it had me wishing there was another bottle on deck, waiting to bat-cleanup [sigh]. My score 93 points. The SRP is $52 most places. Until next folks, have a great weekend and as always sip long and prosper cheers!

Full Disclosure: This wine was sent as a sample for the wine review process. Big thanks to Mónica. Fernández of Pago Casa del Blanco for reaching out to me via twitter.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Champagne Uncorked: A Visit to Champagne Louis Roederer

“I'll drink your champagne. I'll drink every drop of it, I don't care if it kills me.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby Girls
My first trip to Champagne, was for me, a complete success. I came away from the trip with a brand new appreciation and a deeper desire to get to know it so much better. With each trip to France, I come away with a profound new respect for the country and its people. I've become a Francophile. A place, I barely knew or understood twelve years ago, back before I started this wine journey I'm currently on. I know this will sound cliched, but I like to think of wine as a journey, it's not a destination.

Each stone you overturn on the pathway to discovery develops greater understanding and appreciation not only for the wine but for the great folks behind these labels, who bring great traditions and passion to the table. It's evident in what they say, how they say it and oh-so-evident in the final product, passion is a sure 'seller' a…

Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Wine Buys

"The three things that make a vineyard great are the climate, the soil, and the exposure. Bien Nacido Vineyard ~ James Ontiveros  

Another wonderful year is nearly ready to put in the can and stored away for posterity. But every year at this time we collectively take the time-out to give a "thanks" for our many blessings.Every year at this time, I give my Top Five Thanksgiving Holiday Wine 'picks' and this year is no exception. I know my post is a bit "danger" close for those wanting to stock up for the holiday, but this short and sweet guide is for the procrastinators who've waited for the last minute to hear about five Oregon Pinot Noir selections to brighten up their holiday menus for Thursdays big feast. 

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is known as a 'mecca' of sorts, where powerful, yet delicate, soulful Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay is grown, fermented, aged and bottled. I've recently become a resident of this state, much t…

A Spoonful of Social Media

“You can buy attention [advertising]. You can beg for attention from the media [PR], or you can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” –David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker

It was just about four years ago in downtown Paso Robles that Mrs. Cuvee and I were visiting the area, which we try to do as often as possible. We love to hit the wine trail nice and early, but before we head out for the day, we make it a point to have a big breakfast. Since we were staying at the Paso Robles Inn, we thought we'd have breakfast there at least once, the food was tasty, the service was excellent, and the coffee was hot. 

Just one thing was missing that morning; there were no spoons, yes you heard me right, not even a single spoon anywhere to stir cream and sugar into my coffee. We looked at the tables behind us, nothing, we looked into the server station, t…