Dominio del Pidio Returns to Old Ways of Winemaking
SAN JUAN — The Cillar de Silos winery has been producing high-quality wines for more than 20 years in Spain’s Ribera del Duero region and, during a Wine Event Series at 1919 restaurant in the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, they introduced their most recent project: Dominio del Pidio wines.
The event took place in the context of a dinner pairing consisting of six courses prepared by chefs Ariel Rodríguez from Ariel restaurant in San Juan’s Miramar community, and Spaniard Víctor Martín García from Trigo Restaurant in Valladolid, in the heart of Spain’s Castilla and León province, and of course, the executive chef at 1919, Juan José Cuevas.
During the gastronomic evening, the general manager of Cillar de Silos, Roberto Aragón García, presented the new offerings from the winery, describing the characteristics and particularities involved in their production.
“The new project—Dominio del Pidio—is the restoration of five subterranean wine cellars from the 16 century. What we are putting into practice, what we want, is to recuperate that patrimony and put into practice all that it entails. The goal of the Dominio del Pidio project is respect, respect for the vineyards, for the production, for the traditions. We want to take all that and put it into a bottler,” said Aragón García, in an aside with Latin Media House’s Imagen magazine and Caribbean Business.
Dominio del Pidio consists of three wines: a white, a red and a rosé. The white and the red were excellently paired by the sommelier at 1919, Alfredo Figueroa, as well as other wines from Cillar de Silos, such as Hacienda Del Carmen 2014 and Viña de Amalio Especial 2010.
The production of the Dominio del Pidio wines is what sets them apart. Aragón Garcia said that they search for a return “to the origins, producing wine like in the days of yore.”
“In this project, we work with seven hectares [about 17.29 acres] of vineyards for what is the red, and we cover almost 72 to 78 plots of land for the white. Why? Because before, in the old plantations, for each four plants for red, there were two or three for white. Thus, you cover the vineyards one by one, and you pick the plants in two vintages, first the white and then you move on to the red,” he added.
The red is tempranillo and the white is albillo, an autochthonous grape of the region that previously was used to make rosés. “With white, we do it separately because we believe it is a variety that will give us much joy in the future because it has a lot of potential to be produced by itself, without any kind of mixture,” Aragón García said.
Another difference is fermentation, which take place in cement containers instead of steel ones. Then wines are aged in new French oak casks of 500, 600 or 1,200 liters. The idea is for the fruit to stand out, followed by the wood.
“All these wines are produced 18 meters underground. We have a constant temperature of 11 degrees [Celsius, 52 degrees Fahrenheit]; it is always at the same temperature where the wines are aged, in the casks or in the bottles. It is a very important characteristic, a big differentiation, because it makes the wines evolve very slowly, gradually picking up that complexity underground,” he explained.
The result is fresh wines, with a lot of fruit. “Happy wines, but elegant wines at the same time, with accomplished tannins, rounded tannins, wines with very good acidity. Wines with a bit of the South for their maturity and warmth, and the soul of the North for their freshness and acidity,” Aragón García explained.
This makes them very versatile at the time of pairing, in particular the white that goes perfectly with fish, besides meat or cheese. “It is a white with volume, it is a white with freshness, with acidity,” he adds.
During the dinner at 1919, the white was paired with scallops and veal sweetbreads in a green sauce and watermelon radish, a creation by Chef Rodríguez, while the red accompanied a piglet-based Botillo, a traditional dish from the Castilla and León region, prepared by Chef Martín García. Both excellently complemented these dishes, which had intense and varied flavors.
The rest of the meal comprised another dish by Chef Ariel, a pigeon breast in a purée of piquillo peppers, pigeon liver and green pistachio mousse paired with Hacienda Del Carmen 2014. Meanwhile, the stronger dish went to Chef Cuevas, who presented roasted venison with foie grass, lady apple stuffed with blood sausage, churros and shishitos pepper, paired with La Viña de Amalio Especial 2010.
For dessert, Chef Nasha Fondeur, from 1919, and Genar, from Trigo, presented apples and cheeses paired with Jean Comyn, Rosé, NV.