Spain - Pedro Ruiz Aragoneses
Professionnel du Vin
Interview with the General Manager of Bodegas Pago de Carraovejas
" The day we feel there is nothing to improve, is the day we die "

When you talk about Segovia and suckling pig, one of the key names is that of José María. When you add wine to this exceptional combination, you are talking about Pago de Carraovejas, the winery that Jose María bought in the ’80s to change the concept of ‘house wine’ and which has today become a reference point in the Ribera del Duero.

What brought José María to Pago de Carraovejas?
To talk about Pago de Carraovejas is to talk about José María. In 1973, he was appointed to represent Spain in the International Sommeliers Competition, when this institution was still not yet recognised in the country. He was the sommelier at the Mesón de Cándido. There was no selection process; he was simply offered the chance to be the Spanish representative.

During that trip he realised that the world of wine was much more important abroad than in Spain. He always says that it was during that trip that he first dreamed of having a restaurant of his own. One with his own suckling pig and his own wine!

When did this dream start to materialise?
In 1982 he managed to open José María, his own restaurant, curiously enough in the same year that the Ribera del Duero Regulating Council was founded. One of his first innovations on opening the restaurant was the concept of ‘house wine’ which, until then, everyone served in wine carafes. He changed that to bottled wine, something he produced during the first few years in conjunction with local wineries. While taking these first steps with the restaurant, in the same way as wanting to have his own farms to breed his own suckling pigs, he also dreamed of having his own winery.

When did the dream of having a winery become a reality?
In 1987 the Pago de Carraovejas project was born. Two years later the wine was marketed. It was very well received! Little by little the winery started widening its produce and increasing its quality to satisfy the demand of all the emerging customers. Today, the estate has a state-of-the-art winery and reception complex building with 800,000 bottles being produced annually.

What is the distinctive element of Pago de Carraovejas?
I always say that we are an unusual project. We have a unique location, a quite specific climate, a special soil, with a spectacular orientation which benefits both the ripening and condition of the grapes. All this gives us well-defined characteristics especially when working with Cabernet and Merlot.

The secret to achieving high quality produce is to work with very low yields. Pago de Carraovejas is a business and as such it must be profitable, but this is only the starting point to achieve a singular and different product for which we feel a special passion. It is this concept which really makes us different from everybody else.