A Visit To Pago De Tharsys.


Pago de Tharsys is a bodega which I first visited some years ago but whilst I have regularly tasted their wines since I had not taken the opportunity to visit again. The bodega is situated just outside Requena on the road to San Antonio and as an opportunity popped up to take a small group to visit I jumped at the chance. It is a small family bodega, owned and run by Vicente Garcia and Ana Suria both of whom were on hand to welcome us to their home. The bodega is surrounded by the vines and as it conducts the whole process on site is a `viñedo de pago´a qualification  which brings great status  to the property. The bodega takes its name from Tharsys, founder of nearby Requena about 1500 years before Christ and a bodega has been on the site since 1808. Only the original deposits and cellar remain as having aquired the property, subsequently the vineyards and land for other installations, the bodega was demolished and rebuilt from 200o.  

Pago de Tharsys

On arrival in a spacious car park guests are shown the statue of Santa Bernadina, patron saint of vineyards, before going to look at the accomodation for rural breaks which is part of the bodega´s contribution to enotourism in the area. Then the visit continues into the building where we were shown the family accomodation some of which can be hired out for company events and where private meals can be arranged.

One of the kitchens.The spacious entrance hallway

From here the tour moves outside to the covered area where the red wines ferment originally in their temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Across this open yard is a more modern installation where the grapes are originally delivered and processed before being moved by pump to one of the various tanks where temperature controlled fermentation takes place. The bodega grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bobal for the red wines, Garnacha for a Rosado cava and Albariño and Godella for the white wine `Night harvest. These grapes are more normally found in Galicia than here in Requena and night harvesting takes place partly to take advantage of cooler temperatures and to avoid early fermentation and oxidisation. The bodega also has a parcel of sweet grapes which are used to make a dulce of which more later.

Tanks for the red wine.

Vicente Garcia samples the now fermenting Macabeo.

Down here in the tank room , not usually acessed by tour groups Vicente drew a sample of the Macabeo, harvested about a month ago and now fermenting. This had wonderful fruit and depth already and hints of wild fennel on the nose. Nor was this to be our only sample. Back upstairs in the still room,  an aguardiente de orujo is made from the grapes, pips and skins and subsequently marketed as Eau de Vie, the only bodega commercialising this type of brandy in the area currently. We tasted the chardonnay straight from the still, not as musty as those from the Champagne region but still powerful and leaving a long warm finish. Such brandys are used a digestifs .
From here we dropped down into the old deposits now serving as storage for the wines once they have been bottled. Down here you can see how the wine originally entered from above and subsequently moved on two hundred years ago. In fact there were more of these deposits but half were removed to create an area for the desks in which the cava bottles sit with the yeasts until the time comes to disgorge them, apply labels and put them in the market place. This disgorging is done by concentrating the yeast in the neck of the bottle which by now is upside down. It is frozen and the crown cork removed, the pressure ejecting the now frozen plug and the bottle is topped up, corked, wired and labelled.
The cellar enjoys two sets of steps which are unusual in bodega design and could be the result of division of the cellars some years ago as part of an inheritance. Whatever the reason the second set takes you directly back up to the tasting room and shop.

The still room.In the old cellars.

I have written about the excellent `Unico´the cava made from 100% Bobal, the only cava made entirely from this variety and it never fails to impress with its body, depth and full flavour. It remains one of my three top cavas. From a total range of 14 wines produced by the bodega we tried the Pago de Tharsys Reserva 2004 from Cabernet  and Tempranillo. Medium garnet with good legs this tinto has nice red and black fruit with a touch of balsamics and in the mouth is soft, smooth, with nice fruit, smoky and full with a good structure.  Finally we tasted the house Dulce. This is a  made from sweet grapes and I am not sure if the variety is actually certain. Maybe from Corinto or sultanas the wine is well worth a try. Pale gold with green flashes and long legs the nose has muted tropical fruit, sweets and apricot marmalade. In the mouth it is sweet but neither too full nor cloying and has a long honeyed finish….a bit of a mystery.

Pago de Tharsys Brut Nature

More wine in the shop.

 

The bodega also has a banqueting and conference suite upstairs which is hired out for weddings and communions etc. In the grounds the water deposit has been turned into a lake with fish, ducks and a pick-nick area. The visit was very enjoyable and Vicente is always keen to discuss his wines and the biological production. Pago de Tharsys rightly has a growing reputation and is selling its wines well in Japan and China. Thanks to Alberto for setting it up and Ana and Vicente for an instructional visit.

The lake.In the barrel room.

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Comments

  • Alberto  On October 5, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Dear Riki:

    Many thanks for your nice words. Just for information, our Dulce is made with variety BRONX 😉

    For more details about this wine, please feel free to visit our web page http://www.pagodetharsys.com/ing/index1.html

    BEST REGARDS AND SEE YOU SOON!!

    Alberto

    • rikiwigley  On October 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm

      Hi Alberto, Thank you for your comments. I had included in the blog that it was thought that the grape variety also might be Bronx, although I have not yet identified what this grape and it´s history is! Unfortunately somewhere between the edit stage and publish point the hosts have deleted three pictures, which accounts for the strange captions, and some 200 words. I am worried that if I try to correct this now it will just make it worse! This was the first time I had used wordpress and hopefully I will learn how to use it properly and set the page up correctly!
      Best wishes, Riki

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