Saturated deep ruby. Complex, primal aromas of wild berries (boysenberry, blackberry), aromatic herbs and tar. Powerful and unevolved in the mouth, with a strong acid structure currently giving the wine a toughness and restraining its sweetness. This is truly tempranillo with buns of steel. Finishes with powerful tannins, resounding and extremely persistent dark berry flavors, and a strong flavor of caramel oak. An extraordinary sample of tempranillo, but in need of considerable bottle aging. May ultimately merit another point or three.
Author: Stephen Tanzer
Issue: November/December 2000
Wine Advocate | Rating: 96
The 1996 Pago Negralada was to be bottled approximately a month after I tasted it. Made from a single Tempranillo vineyard, planted more than 2100 feet above sea level, the alluvial and clay soil mixture gives the wine a distinctive character. This is unquestionably a spectacular effort, displaying a saturated purple color, and a knock-out blackberry, chocolate, licorice, and earthy-scented nose. Exquisitely balanced, this full-bodied wine is crammed with fruit, yet it does not come across as heavy or overbearing. This wine has benefited from having its malolactic take place in barrel (which tends to integrate the wood into the wine earlier, and, some say, more effectively than when it is done in tank). The layers of fruit are ripe, the wine's purity impeccable, and the overall balance impressive. This stunningly rich, potentially brilliant wine will admirably showcase the heights that Tempranillo can achieve.
Author: Robert Parker
Wine Spectator | Rating: 88
This nicely sculpted, stylish red has well-integrated new oak and ripe flavors of plum, chocolate and mineral. The tannins are firm but unobtrusive, and the finish is clean and lingering. 150 cases made.