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Cortijo Los Aguilares Wines Stand Out at the Grandes Pagos de España Tasting

Bibi Garcia, winemaker at Cortijo Los Aguilares

Bibi Garcia, winemaker at Cortijo Los Aguilares

Yesterday, on a frigid, sub-freezing February day in Washington DC, we had the wonderful opportunity to taste wines from many of the members of Grandes Pagos de España. The wineries that belong to this group are from different wine regions of Spain. Their wines are made with grapes from single vineyards. To become members of Grandes Pagos de España the single vineyard wines must achieve critical acclaim for five years. In the 15 years of the organization, 30 wineries have become members.

We attended a seminar and then a walk-around tasting. Our seminar featured eight wines. One of the reds that made an impression was a Pinot Noir from Cortijo Los Aguilares. The winemaker, Bibi Garcia spoke about the wine. One of her first comments was that she inherited the Pinot Noir vineyard, she would not have planted this varietal grape, but since it was there, Bibi decided to make the best Pinot Noir possible. Fermentation takes place using natural yeasts in both stainless steel tanks and cement egg-shaped tanks. The wine was aged in two year old French oak barrels for eight months. The 2012 Pinot Noir had a translucent ruby color and offered floral and berry fruit aromas. I noticed red and black raspberries on the taste with a touch of minerality. The wine had noticeable tannins and was crisp. The wine keeps winning gold medals and therefore will continue to be crafted.

Petit Verdot from Cortijo Los Aguilares

Petit Verdot from Cortijo Los Aguilares

During the walk-around tasting we visited the Cortijo Los Aguilares table and spoke with Bibi. Since her childhood, Bibi was interested in chemistry. Now she can apply the science in the lab in the winery as well as the vineyard. Her passion has shifted a bit and now she is very involved in the vineyard. The vineyard consists of 18 hectares (44 acres) of grapes planted at an elevation of over 900 meters (2953 feet) above sea level. The vineyard benefits from weather influences from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea most notably the large diurnal temperature swings from day and nighttime temperatures. These temperatures help the grapes to mature slowly and retain their acidity. The soil is a combination of clay and limestone. Grapes are hand harvested and placed in small containers then taken to the winery.

We tasted another wine made by Bibi. The 2012 Tadeo was produced with 100% Petit Verdot and aged for 16 months in French oak. The very dark ruby wine offered black fruit and spice notes. There were bold tannins and a long aftertaste. The wine was delicious. It has won various medals and considered by some to be the best Petit Verdot in Spain. The Petit Verdot grapes were harvested by hand and were the last of the red grapes harvested; there is no rush to harvest before the grapes are ready. In the winery gravity flow is used at all production stages to minimize the pumping of grapes. This gentle treatment of the grapes ensures quality.

Cortijo Los Aguilares is located near Ronda in the Andalucia region of Spain. Wine tourists can visit the winery by making an appointment.



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