Pazo Barrantes La Comtesse de Pazo Barrantes
Rías Baixas, Spain
The Wine Advocate
November 16, 2023, Luis Gutiérrez
“The 2018 La Comtesse comes from a vineyard called Cacheiro, 1.4 hectares of their oldest vines (planted in 1965) that deliver lower yields and aim to showcase the aging potential of Albariño. The destemmed grapes were slowly and softly pressed in a pneumatic press, and the juice was let to settle and put to ferment in a 3,000-liter oak vat for some 60 days. The wine was kept in that vat for 12 months, the first two with lees, and then it matured in concrete for a further 12 months before bottling. It has 13.5% alcohol and a pH of 3.4 with seven grams of tartaric acid per liter, very good parameters for a great vintage. It has a bright golden color and a perfumed, complex and elegant nose, with depth and nuance with the complexity of time, moving away from the primary aromas and high acidity of the younger wines. The oak is neatly integrated (the oak is used, and they have reduced the time in oak by two months), and the wine has mellow acidity. It's velvety and elegant, clean, pungent and precise, sharp and electric, very fresh. It has complexity and youth, balance and ingredients to develop in bottle. Time is on its side. 6,672 bottles and 200 magnums were produced. It was bottled in April 2021. It was not released until June 2023, after a good couple of years in bottle.”
October 2023, Alison Napjus
“A graceful white, light-bodied and lithe, with pretty notes of elderflower and ginger accenting a finely meshed range of white peach and melon fruit and a minerally underpinning of smoke, saline and graphite. Lightly tangy and fresh on the spiced finish. Drink now through 2025.”
September 11, 2023, Sarah Jane Evans MW
“Smoky oak, quince and citrus make an appealing combination on the nose. Youthful palate despite its years, showing lemon curd, patisserie and rich fruit conserve. Finishes long, with structure that will allow further ageing.”
August 18, 2023, James Suckling
“Scented orange blossoms, mineral, orange zest and pineapples. Intense and taut on the palate with a bright beam of acidity and subtle salinity that melds together before a long and intense finish. Mineral, serious and gastronomic. Drink or hold.”
Pazo de Barrantes, a wine that captures the subtle flavor and freshness of albariño, comes from one the largest single estates in Salnés Valley, Rías Baixas D.O. of Galicia, Spain. The wine’s true albariño character is a direct reflection of the Creixell family’s core values of quality and estate-owned vineyards, paired with a modern winemaking approach and the latest technology.
The grapes used to elaborate the wine are sourced from Pago Cacheiro, a 3.7-acre single-vineyard on the Pazo de Barrantes estate. The shallow soils of the estate are granitic with sand on the surface and the average age of the vineyard is 30 years. The vines are trained high on supporting wires in the ‘parral’ trellis system (also known as Parron), as is the local tradition, to guard against mildew and rot, and to assist ripening.
Hand-picked in 20kg crates, the albariño bunches are then destemmed before pressing to avoid any herb flavors. The grapes are pressed slowly and gently to respect and extract the intense aromatic potential that these old vine grapes provide. The must is decanted by flotation to ensure greater aromatic purity and then fermented at 50ºF in 3,000-liter French oak vats for approximately 60 days.
Once the juice is settled, fermentation takes place in a temperature-controlled (50ºF) 3,000-liter French Allier oak vat for 60 days. In an effort to gain more volume on the palate and a balanced mouth-feel, the wine is left in contact with its fine lees for six months. La Comtesse remains in this same wooden vat for 12 months, followed by 12 months in concrete tanks.
An infinite nose where lychee, quince fruit and lemon peel flavors, harmonize gracefully withhints of acacia flowers, fennel and eucalyptus. Aminerality edge provides refinement to thewhole. Harmonious mouthfeel, its silky textureleads to an endless finish. The breadth of this wine suggests a development that will continue for decades.
La Comtesse allows for bolder pairings with different textures and flavors. Seared crayfish with fresh pasta and vegetables; grilled lobster with mayonnaise; steamed prawns with mustard and truffle oil; warm shrimp salad with honey mustard and green apples. The recommended serving temperature is 55ºF to 57ºF, allowing the flavors and complexity to show at their best.
Varietals: 100% Albariño
Wine Alcohol: 13.5%
Bottling Date: April 2021