Although Pazo Barrantes has been the ancestral home to the Creixell family (owners of renowned Riojan labels Marques de Murrieta and Castillo Ygay) since the 15th century and where Albariño has been grown and made for generations, it was not until 1982, when the vineyards were re-planted and 1991, when the winery was built, that it became a commercial winery.
Located in the Salnés valley, the winery boasts 12 hectares that surround the 16th century Galician Palace. All the vines are trained high on supporting wires in the “Parral” trellis system, as is the local tradition, to guard against mildew and rot, and to assist ripening. The soil is sandy, acidic and shallow. Production is around 200,000 bottles per year.
First, the oldest vine bunches are de-stemmed before gentle pressing. Temperature controlled fermentation (10 ºC) takes place in a 3,000 litre French Allier wooden vat for 50 days. To add more weight to the palete, the wine is left in contact with its own fine lees for three months. La Comtesse then remains in this vat for a further 12 months. Afterwards the wine is aged in bottle for other 12 months before release.
After two bumper vintages previous, the 2012 is a smaller crop in Rias Baixas. March was dry and warm, April the rains and humidity came and remained changeable until June, which was cooler than normal for the area. Conditions improved through July and August but it wasn’t enough to undo the damage. Harvest was a lot later than normal, holding out for quality rather than quantity.
White flowers, pears and soft spice with a hint of lime. A creamy texture, full bodied with a long developing finish of white peaches and vanilla.
Crayfish and crab, white meats, sushi, cow and sheep’s cheeses served with glazed fruit and foie.
Serve at 12º-14º C. Open one hour before serving.
93 Points James Suckling – “A creamy and beautiful wine with sliced pear and apple. Hints of white peach and lime too. Full body, lovely texture and a long and flavorful finish. This is made from a special plot of vineyards that have 50 years of age or more. Fermented and aged one year in a large 3,000 liter French oak cask. A stylish white. Electric”
94 Points Guia Peñin
Rias Baixas, Spain