In the 14th century, a chaplainry existed in the village of Pedrosa de Duero, nestled deep in the heart of the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. The inhabitants of the village donated small parcels of land to the chaplains in appreciation for the religious duties that they performed in the area. Over time, the chaplainry came to have a sizeable landholding. In 1855, the properties of the church and clergy were given over to the city council as part of the Ecclesiastical Confiscations of Mendizábal. Despite this, the inhabitants of Pedrosa continued to call the area “Pago de los Capellanes” in honor of the chaplains. Today, Pago de los Capellanes is one of the most prestigious wineries of the region.
The vineyards of Pago de los Capellanes only grow Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) grapes. The winery was initially founded with just a few select vines. It has expanded to a little more than 100 hectares of vineyards, planted using selection massale. Each plot receives personalized care, matching its unique features, to grow the best possible fruit. Harvest is limited to 5.000 kg of grapes per hectare – well below the 7.000 kg allowed by the Regulatory Council of Ribera del Duero. The vineyards are divided into 44 parcels, whose fruit is processed separately during vinification. In the months leading up to the harvest, samples from each parcel are taken daily, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. They are used to analyse the evolution of the grape clusters, and the degree of maturity of the berries. It is not until early October, when the grapes are at their finest, that harvest begins. The average daytime temperature at that time of year is 25C (77F). At night, it falls to 5C (41F). This high diurnal temperature variation aids the maturation of the fruit, and heightens the alcohol content, color and tannins, while helping to maintain good acidity and freshness.
The winery was built around eight centuries-old walnut trees. The first phase was completed in 1996. An extension was added several years later to accommodate the winery’s current production capacity. The spectacular aging cellar, with exposed concrete arches, is ten meters underground. The whole project was completed in 2010. While decidedly bold and modern, it also respects and highlights the beauty of its environment, summing up the winery’s ethos.
Farming/vinification practices: sustainable. The vineyards are farmed organically in vintages that do not present too many difficulties. The wines are vegan.