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It’s not easy to find Viñedos & Bodegas de Páganos. The estate is near the bottom of a hill between the villages of Laguardia and Páganos, leading you to believe that the owners, the Eguren family, just want to be left alone to quietly go about their business. And what a business it is!
The estate won an international ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award for Architecture and Landscapes for its stunning ensemble of vineyards, winery and ageing cellars in the Alavesa subregion of Rioja.
Miguel and Marcos Eguren are first and foremost grape growers. They have taken their love of the soil and vines one step further by creating some of Rioja’s most sought-after wines at several properties in Rioja Alta and Alavesa, among which is Viñedos & Bodegas de Páganos, the jewel in the family’s Riojan crown.
Rioja is a region where you can find eyepopping wineries designed by renowned architects that attract international attention. The Egurens, however, have taken the opposite path by building a simply designed, functional winery that blends in well with the surrounding landscape, surrounded on two sides by their vineyards La Nieta and El Puntido and a large aging cellar tunnelled into the clay, rock and limestone soil, invisible from above except for a small door dug into the side of a hill.
The most amazing thing about the cellar is that it was excavated long before the winery was built over it in 1998. A tunnelling machine took eight years to excavate an 800 square meter area creating a warren of passageways. Rebeca Campos from the winery’s marketing and communication department explained that the family wanted to assure that the wines aged slowly in the most natural conditions possible, several meters underground where the temperature averages around 14ºC with at most a one-degree variation throughout the year. In today’s world of instant gratification and quick profits, the Eguren’s project is proof that patience pays off in the wine business.
The family has proven that the La Nieta and El Puntido vineyards have unique characteristics for making outstanding wines. La Nieta is a 1,7 hectare plot on a thin layer of clay and limestone soil over bedrock planted exclusively with tempranillo vines in 1975. El Puntido is a south-facing 25 hectare vineyard on deep clay and limestone soil, planted with tempranillo in 1975. The family believes that the wines are a perfect reflection of these vineyard terroirs: subtlety and elegance for La Nieta and an austere, high acidity character that Riojans call ‘mineralidad’ for El Puntido. These wines have earned high marks from wine writers and magazines around the world and are highly sought-after by consumers.
Text: Tom Perry
Photos courtesy of Viñedos & Bodegas de Páganos
Viñedos & Bodegas de Páganos
Ctra. de Navaridas, S/N – 01309-Páganos-Laguardia, Spain
Tel.: (+34) 945 6005 90Fax: (+34) 945 600 885