Paso-Primero Tinto & Blanco

Paso-Primero is not just the name of our company, it’s the name of our most beloved wines. Roughly translated as ‘first step’ these wines represent our first foray into professional wine production for ourselves. For the first time in our lives we weren’t working for anyone else and following their rules, we were making our own rules. Paso-Primero Tinto and Blanco are our wines, in our style and they have formed the bedrock of our business ever since.

Although these wines have a thread of continuity running through them we are still making vintage wines. This means that while there is a ‘Paso-Primero’ style you can rely on, there will be subtle changes each year. We want to involve you in the winemaking process as much as possible so we’ll try to highlight the differences that each year brings. If the blend changes or if we try something new then we will share this information with you and explain our reasoning. Rest assured that everything we do is to increase quality and make the best wines we possibly can.

The Wines.

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2017

Tinto : Details to come soon.

Blanco : 35% Gewurztraminer, 33% Chardonnay, 31% Riesling. Picked at night to keep the fruit cool this wine was processed in stainless steel throughout production to preserve freshness, vibrancy and the elegant floral aromas. It has a dominant Gewurztraminer nose backed up by a rich body of Chardonnay and finished with fresh citric acidity from the Riesling.

2016

Tinto : 79% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Tempranillo. 

TASTING NOTE FROM JOANNA SIMON : A Spanish wine made from Bordeaux grape varieties by a British couple. It’s either three-way vinous entente cordiale or a recipe for disaster. Needless to say it wouldn’t be here if it was the latter. The entente distinctly cordiale has produced an exuberant, dark, fruity red with chocolate-coated black cherry, liquorice and toasted oak flavours and a welcome lift of freshness to the finish. The 2016 is Merlot-based with 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and, waving the flag for Spanish varieties, 12% Tempranillo. In fact, there’s nothing unusual about French grapes in Somontano, a region in the Pyrenean foothills heading for the French border. The people behind it are Tom and Emma Holt, who met in Shrewsbury when they were both working for Tanners Wines (their main stockist), then settled in northern Spain after working in New Zealand and Canada, among other countries. The choice of name, 'first steps', is obvious, although they've now reached their fourth vintage, counting the one currently fermenting, and the wren on the ladder was chosen because it’s a bird common to both Somontano and Shrewsbury. Food? Think wintery casseroles and bakes, whether vegetarian or meat, a juicy rump steak or meaty, spiced sausages

 Blanco : The wine that never was…..

The realities of producing wine are far from 'romantic' and we’re always going to be open to variables and risks. Typically these are related to weather patterns and vineyard pressures but occasionally they are a result of human error, miscalculation and idiocy. Our 2016 Paso-Primero Blanco suffered from the latter. Although we did everything we could to ensure our wine continued the success of the 2015 vintage we bowed to pressure and decided to put the wine under screwcap. As we struggled to find the right equipment to seal our wine we had to enlist the help of an outside party who assured us everything would be fine. It was not fine. It was very far from fine indeed.

When the wine arrived from bottling we found out that the wine was not actually sealed. When we inspected the bottle we realised that the screwcap had not been screwed enough.  Ironically that meant that we were now screwed because our entire bottling of Paso-Primero Blanco 2016 was ruined and completely unsuitable for sale. Heartbreaking doesn't come close to explaining how we felt. It was a truly shambolic turn of events that we have been recovering from ever since. The only positive we can take from this experience is the renewed vigour in which we have approached our winemaking after this gut wrenching set back. We scraped through the summer with only red wine to sell but managed to get into our harvest in 2017 with a more direct focus on our Paso-Primero Blanco and a clear plan for bottling - we would do it ourselves! Thankfully it all went well and hopefully this page will serve as a reminder of a difficult time rather than the first chapter in a catalogue of errors.......

2015

Tinto : 68% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Tempranillo.  Paso-Primero Tinto has a bright, ruby red colour. This reveals the youthful nature of the wine whereas the complex aromatics suggest a much older wine. Bright red fruits are underpinned with deeper, tertiary characteristics (such as ground coffee and leather) that are usually found in wines  with a greater bottle age. Typically for a Spanish wine from a hot, difficult vintage the palate is powerful with weight and structure. The higher Merlot component (relevant to the 2014)  softens the wine with supple tannins balancing the power of the Cabernet-Sauvignon. We have tried to maintain a backbone of acidity from the Tempranillo to give the wine length and lift the more robust characteristics of the other varietals.

Blanco : 100% Verdejo. There is a golden hue to this wine which gives an early indication of its weight and complexity. The nose is brimming with aromatics ranging from bright citrus to herbaceous & floral all enhanced with hints of honey. The palate glides between sensations as its medium weight body gets lifted with zingy acidity. The ripe fruit flavours suggest a sweeter wine but the crisp acidity gives Paso-Primero Blanco a dry, clean finish. As is common with wines made from the Verdejo grape there is an underlying profile of nuts, crisp apples and a backbone of minerality.    

2014

Tinto : 50% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 25% Tempranillo. A bright, ruby red colour which is backed up by an intense bouquet of cherries and plums. As the nose develops it shows more complex characteristics with white pepper spice, hints of sweet vanilla and roasted coffee beans. The palate has weight and structure but is perfectly balanced with soft, supple tannins. A good backbone of acidity gives this wine length and ensures this wine can be enjoyed on its own or with a variety of foods.