Bodegas y Viñedos La Solana, Pago Florentino

‘Pago Florentino’ is a project launched by the Arzuaga-Navarro family, who are also responsible for Bodegas Arzuaga-Navarro under DO Ribera del Duero, where they make internationally famous wines. In 1997, Florentino Arzuaga bought 150 hectares of olive trees in the province of Toledo with the intention of producing olive oil. While he was looking for somewhere suitable to launch his venture, Florentino discovered the La Solana estate in the municipality of Malagón (Ciudad Real) – a unique location to cultivate vines in – and decided to make wines there. Due to its character and uniqueness, it was destined to become a Vino de Pago (single-estate wine). This much sought-after recognition was granted to ‘Pago Florentino’ in July 2009 by the Castilla-La Mancha Regional Government.

The La Solana estate is in the north of the province of Ciudad Real. Its major characteristics are its location at the foot of the Sierra de Malagón, affording it protection, and its south-facing slopes, which subject its vineyards to long periods of sunlight exposure. This phenomenon, which is paramount to the grape ripening process, is bolstered by the region’s dry Mediterranean climate (scarce rainfall, drastic temperature changes and long dry periods), which determines the fruity character and identity of ‘Pago Florentino’ wines.

‘Pago Florentino’ boasts 58.1 hectares of its own vineyards endorsed with the status of protected designation of origin. The soils, where the vines are planted, are characterised by their abundant granite-clay rocks and high mineral content, a quality which is reflected in the wines after the vinification process. Due to the region’s scarce rainfall, the hydric stress of the vines is controlled via a drip irrigation system, although viticulture principles are always at the forefront with the idea of making the most of natural elements such as the sun, the soil and vineyard husbandry. The following grape varieties are grown at the estate: Cencibel, the Castilla-La Mancha name given to Tempranillo, as well as Syrah and Petit Verdot. The region’s climatic conditions and soil characteristics bestow the fruit with an excellent alcohol and acidic balance, and a perfect level of ripening.

In 2001, the first ‘Pago Florentino’ vintage was made in the bodega, which is located in the centre of the estate. This wine’s vinification process aims to reflect the terroir where the grapes mature, as well as maintaining flavour consistency thanks to its ageing process in French oak barrels, which are renewed every year. This last element accompanies the wine’s fruit nuances, respecting expression and obtaining a product that reflects the full potential of grapes grown in optimum ripening conditions.

The driving force behind ‘Pago Florentino’ is oenologist, Jorge Monzón. From 2001 to 2009 this wine was sold under the Vino de la Tierra de Castilla quality stamp, but once it began selling under the Vino de Pago category the oenologist admits that the recognition “has represented a growth in interest in our bodega and an improvement in internal quality standards”, highlighting that this quality seal of approval is the highest ranking category that can be granted to any Spanish wine.