This vino de pago (single estate wine) project was established at the Prado Lagar family property, on the outskirts of Logroño, in the late 80s. Pelayo de la Mata, marquis of Vargas, built the winery surrounded by the vineyards planted by his ancestors.
The estate, which only produces Reserva style wines, applies longer aging times than the minimum required by the Consejo Regulador (up to 22-23 months in barrels) and pioneered the introduction of Russian oak in Spain. Wines are made mostly from Tempranillo, with small amounts of Mazuelo, Garnacha and some Cabernet Sauvignon (authorised only for experimental purposes within the DO). The wines' style occupies a pleasant middle ground. They show intensity, favoured by the excellent ripening conditions in the estate, but also offer the hallmark character of barrel aged wines.
Its quality-focused portfolio starts with Marqués de Vargas Reserva (around €16 in Spain), which has gained prestige in Rioja and is worth keeping in mind on good vintages. Marqués de Vargas Reserva Privada (€38) stands out for being aged solely in Russian oak barrels. A complex red wine with good structure, it usually benefits from decanting prior to being served. Hacienda Pradolagar Reserva Especial (€95) has a tiny production and tends to be extreme in expressing its ripeness. It also shows considerable differences between vintages despite coming from the same vineyard, known as La Victoria.
The group Marqués de Vargas also includes the Conde de San Cristóbal winery in Ribera del Duero and Pazo San Mauro in Rías Baixas.