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Vino de Pago DO-how many, officially?

Can anyone confirm how many official Pago DO's there are right now? This site lists 14 but another site lists 15 and another lists 17. I have emailed Wines of Spain USA and have attempted to contact the Agricultural Ministry, but I am not having any luck...

  • First of all, it's highly recommended to not use Catavino as a source for anything on Spanish wines. In addition to being dated, the articles were never very well-written or researched and all facts presented should be questioned. Everything solid on Spain you should get from GuildSomm, the Oxford Companion, or Wine Bible. On my site, the main focus is Spain (feel free to enjoy it as you like), but it's not really organized in to a website for easy research like the three previous titles.

    Completely ignore the Grandes Pagos association. That is complete poo and a pay-for-play organization with various members coming and going. In the last year or so, it seems to be near complete collapse. It's exactly the same as the ridiculous "Grand Cro" association a number of Croatian producers started three years ago. There are indeed some fine wines in this but the, "All my wines are Grand Cru because I pay to say so." is beyond laughable.

    Vino de Pago is not a DO. While they hold the same level of being a Protected Geographic Indication, they're not classified as a DO and I'm not sure where this started entering the vocabulary as they're not stated as such in Spain, quite the opposite actually. To state DO Pago is incorrect although I can only guess some member of the group started saying this at a trade fair and it stuck.

    A broader question to any Masters who might be floating around the boards these summer days: are the Vinos de Pago fair game at Advanced or Master exam levels? I ask because there's a great deal of rumbling among Spanish winemakers about the lack of transparency (how Spanish...) of this classification and that it has less meaning than DOCG in Italy which was essentially invented because they had elevated too many regions to DOC. "This DO goes up to 11."

    Again, with the Vinos de Pago, there are some fine wines in there, but there are others that are not and it bears no semblance as to how one goes about creating a Cru system similar to France's.

  • Miquel Hudin thanks for the information on Cavatino.  The only reason I linked to it was because it had some interesting information about how to become a GPE (which was in line with what I had read before on Jancis and Decanter) that I think illustrates the BS that you're getting to - for example, the fact that all of the members must approve of a new addition to the GPE only ensures unwieldy political bickering as the organization gets larger.  I'm surprised it's gotten to 30 ... I can't imagine getting 30 winemakers to agree on anything!

    The only reason that I've learned about GPE (besides the fact that I seem to love to learn about producer's associations) is because the term "pago" can be used in so many different ways in Spain that it seemed like a good idea to know what the differences are.

    And thanks Matt, I didn't realize the distinction of Vino de Pago being a DOP like a DO or a DOCa but not actually being a DO.  Subtle, but important.

  • As I understand the regulation, "pago" cannot be used on any label currently unless the wine is a certified Vino de Pago.

    And "Pago" certification is something of an additional step so it would be (if any existed) a DOC Rioja Vino de Pago or "Vino de Pago Calificado" which is different than what you see in France where upper Crus are actual appellations thus you qualify a wine in Chablis from Fourchame as a AOC Fourchaume Premier Cru not a AOC Chablis Premier Cru du Fourchame.

    As with many things, I prefer the French system as in Spain it simply promotes a single owner's property and not a broader terroir which is the freakin' point.

    You can read more about this, including the separate Catalan, Vi de Finca if you'd like:
  • Miquel Hudin Hadn't heard about the Vi de Finca and other classifications ... that's fascinating.

    As I understand it though there are at least two other ways besides Vino de Pago that the term pago appears on labels. For example there are wineries with pago in the name (Pago de los Capellanes) or a named vineyard (Artadi's Pagos Viejos). I haven't come across anything that I can find that would outlaw those uses ... has something changed in the laws recently?
  • Super interesting, I need to review the Pago stuff more in depth. One small nitpick, Premier Crus in Burgundy are actually not their own appellation, it would in fact be AOC Chablis - Fourchaume 1er Cru. The 1er Crus fall under the village heading. Grand Crus are as you describe - their own separate AOP.
  • Is that the case for all of the Premier Cru in Burgundy or just Chablis? I was under the impression those worked at an AOC level in Côte de Beaune and Côte d'Or but if wrong have no problem being set straight on the topic.
  • As I had read it awhile back, that was the actual law, but in Spain, laws are the color grey and so maybe it's not being enforced. Vino de Pago has really not whet my appetite in any form so I don't really follow it much.

    The Catalan Vi de Finca is a bit more interesting as while there aren't many (only seven to date) they're all quite good and include some of the top wines of the region, including two in Priorat. Oddly enough this system was created BEFORE Vino de Pago, yet few know of it.

    Honestly, I find that neither system is fully adequate and it's more up to the DOs and not private wineries to start proper vineyard mapping and subsequent classification. This has been happening to some extent but it will be a very, very long time before it is completed.
  • Miquel Hudin that is the case across Burgundy - only the grand crus are separate AOCs by law, the others are just designations within the village
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  • Was at a rosé tasting today where a representative from Arinzano (one of the pagos from Navarro) quoted the number at 17. I asked if there were some additions, as every number I'd seen before (both on guildsomm and Jancis) listed 14 - she told me that there had been some additions in the last year. Has anyone heard anything on this? Or an honest mistake on her part?
  • This is a constant issue as there are always reports of more pagos than are really confirmed. Our policy is to only publish what can be confirmed by official documents.  Any updates on your end?

    Keep in mind that local approval is different from EU approval and we only post once the second is confirmed. We can give you a huge list of things that were approved at a local level and never manifested.

  • It is still listed officially as 14 - I, too, have seen numbers fluctuate the past couple of years.

    Unfortunately, it seems like some of these, as Geoff mentioned, might get confirmed on a regional level but not a national or EU level. So, it's entirely possible to hear about additions without seeing it on our end. I would stick with 14 until we see evidence otherwise. If anyone has better information please feel free to send it over.

    There is also confusion because of "Grandes Pagos de Espana" which is entirely separate from the DO Pago, but some estates have both.