An arínzano is an agricultural estate that showcases unique vineyards, and this winery was the first estate in northern Spain to be endowed with the prestigious Vinos de Pago classification. The term pago is a nod to the Greek “pagus”, or property. The idea behind these wines is that they are entirely unique because of their provenance, or terroir, in wine geek speak. In sum, pago equals prestige, as the classification is set up.

Based between Rioja and Bordeaux, these wines show a Bordelais influence via their grape varieties. Each is splashed with Merlot, and the Hacienda wine is dotted with Cabernet Sauvignon. Both stand up fairly well to the test of time, and they show that Spanish charm of being released when ready to drink rather than when the winery needs to pay the banker. 

91
Arínzano 2010 La Casona Vino Classificado Pago $40
What a pleasant drink! This smooth, nicely maturing blend of Tempranillo, Merlot (10%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) tastes of mulberries, cassis and licorice. With aeration, gamey tones waft out of the glass, as do coffee grinds and leathery notes. Flavorful, firm and refreshing, this carries its opulent body regally. Perhaps not a long keeper, this will make many sippers happy over the next few years. With its fallen autumn leaves, leather and beef jerky tones, the tertiary notes are taking over. This wine does seem to be at its height of complexity now.
Drink: 2018-20

88
Arínzano 2012 Tempranillo Hacienda de Arínzano Pago de Arínzano $20
This is impressively fresh compared to its two years-older sibling. However, this beetle shell-colored, dark maroon-inflected wine looks and smells more youthful than its palate, which shows the first – and agreeable – signs of advancement. Licorice accents the unbashful blast of mulberry, rhubarb and sweet black currants. Then, there’s a solid earthiness and dried-out cigar aura on the back palate that make a nice counterpoint to the exuberant fruit-forwardness. The first sips unleash a lusty, rich palate of ripe fruit that gets polished up by a tight back palate showing a nice edge of acidity. This will please pretty much everyone without showing any obvious lick of oak or toast.

Drink: 2018-19