A new wine classification in Spain

  • Exclusive classification: Bodega Otazu is one of only 14 wineries in Spain to have the Vino de Pago status for some of their wines (Photograph submitted)

    Exclusive classification: Bodega Otazu is one of only 14 wineries in Spain to have the Vino de Pago status for some of their wines (Photograph submitted)

  • Proud tradition: the old Otazu winery with the Obtusa de Otazu sculpture in front

    Proud tradition: the old Otazu winery with the Obtusa de Otazu sculpture in front
    (Photograph submitted)


Spain has the largest area of vineyards out of all the world’s wine-producing countries, but as their vines are planted further apart than in France or Italy, these two nations make more wine.

In 2003 the Spanish Parliament created a new classification with the goal of increasing overall quality and, out of approximately 4,000 wineries, only a few have so far been granted Vino de Pago.

This is awarded to single estates with an international reputation who also follow a few new quality-related guidelines.

Bodega Otazu is located well to the north in Navarra and it has a long history dating back to medieval times.

It is one of only 14 wineries in Spain to have the Vino de Pago status for some of their wines.

All Vino de Pago must be single-estate wines made from a single traceable parcel.

The wines have much lower yields than the other Denominacion de Origen and the vines must be older than ten years. Bodega Otazu was awarded its Vino de Pago status in 2009.

The vineyards of Bodega Otazu have their own microclimate, with Atlantic influences and strong northerly winds.

There are 14 different soil types on the 110-hectare estate which is divided into 32 parcels made up of chardonnay, tempranillo, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. We now stock a selection of their wines, two of which have the Vino de Pago classification.

Our first Pago-designated wine, Pago de Otazu Crianza 2014 Chardonnay, is aged for seven months in new French oak barrels and it has a straw yellow colour and tropical fruit aromas with toasted notes.

On the palate, it is fresh and aromatic. Great with fish soups, paellas, fine noodle dishes, vegetables, pan-fried fish and cheeses. $44.75.

Our other Pago wine is Otazu Senorio de Otazu 2008 and this is a blend of 85 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 10 per cent tempranillo and 5 per cent merlot. It is a deep, brooding cherry colour followed by an elegant, perfumed nose of spice, mineral and balsamic with fresh forest fruits.

In the mouth it is complex and silky, with the fresh dark fruits and well-integrated toast and spice from the new French oak in which it spends 16 months. $29.90.

Bodega Otazu 2016 Chardonnay is a lemon-yellow colour, and very clean and bright.

An intense nose reveals outstanding floral and white fruit notes such as pear and fresh apple. $19.80.

We have their Otazu 2012 Premium Cuvée Red in bottles for $21.75 and magnums at $44.55.

This is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo and merlot. When we translate to English on their website we get: “Cherry red with red trim of medium-high layer. Intense and complex nose dominated by black fruit. Notes of plums and blackberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and balsamic nuances. Friendly, gourmand entry and round tannin. With an elegant finish of marked fruity character.”

Otazu Altar 2007 is also cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo and merlot. It has a very complex nose with mineral notes, ripe dark fruit, truffles, subtle balsamic hints and cedar. Well-structured and elegant palate and a full-bodied wine with a long finish. Great with game, lamb and cured cheese. $49.00.

Arguably the most prestigious wine produced in Navarra, Vitral is a super-premium cabernet sauvignon made in extremely limited quantities (approximately 900 bottles per year). The fruit is picked from one particularly high-quality cabernet plot from the Otazu estate and undergoes meticulous fermentation and ageing before release.

Otazu Vitral 2007 is 100 per cent cabernet sauvignon. The micro-fermentation occurs in small tanks in which traditional grape treading takes place.

Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels and 48 months in bottle. Deep garnet colour. Very elegant nose, concentrated dark fruit, intense mineral and balsamic notes, with well-integrated wood.

A wine of tremendous complexity, well structured with very fine tannins. This is a wine for collectors and it is priced at $199.00.

Unlike most Spanish rosé wines the Otazo 2016 Rosé is made from merlot grapes.

This makes it a darker-hued wine than many and it does have intensity on the palate as it offers wild fruits, currants, strawberries, raspberries and lots of freshness. $19.90.

On August 13 Guillermo Penso Blanco and his wife will arrive here to vacation on our island. His family are the owners of Bodega Otazu. Stay tuned to our Burrows Lightbourn Facebook page as we will probably have a public meet and taste on August 16.

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm<;/i>

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Published Aug 10, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm)

A new wine classification in Spain

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