Yesterday I met a lovely man called Tom who has a wonderful story and he gave me some incredible wines to taste. Paso Primero are wines that are made with love and care, yet are outstanding value for money.
Tom dropped out of uni and started stacking shelves at Tanners Wine Merchants, who were very supportive and encouraged Tom to study wine making at Plumpton in Sussex. With a wine degree under his belt he set off for New Zealand with his then girlfriend (now wife) Emma to make wine in Hawkes Bay. After a couple of years it was time for a change and they moved to Canada to make wines for Flat Rock in Niagara. After three years suffering through the bitter winters they decided to move home and settle in Shrewsbury, where Tom and Emma are able to juggle caring for their baby boy with making delicious wines at an affordable price in partnership with Batan de Salas in Somontano, 2hrs from Barcelona. Sounds idyllic... but obviously hard work as a breakthrough young wine maker in a crowded market where the big guns have the power. I'm hoping I can help Tom and Emma by featuring their wines at my pop up wine bar in Marlow and spreading the word about their wines. So what about the wines?
Paso Primero is the main wine they produce, a red blend of Merlot (72%), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%) and Tempranillo (14%). The bottle we opened was a little tight on the nose, but that's understandable being the 2016 vintage with only a few months in bottle, give it six months and it'll open right up. On the palate the first hit is the Cab Sav with its tannic bite, then the Merlot floods through softening the mouthfeel, finishing on a Tempranillo lift of red fruits - the strawberry and redcurrant finish makes you crave another sip. Very easy drinking, peppery, smooth, without the burn I would expect to receive from a wine so young and with such high alcohol (14.5%). Selling for a mere £8.50 at Tanners, this is a new favourite!
Paso Prima is Tom's vanity project, the opportunity to choose the grapes that are developing to his tastes, and have a little fun. Paso Prima today is 100% Cab Sav, but the next vintage might be 100% Chardonnay, who knows, a little surprise in wait every year. I think Tom should create a members club so we can get pre-release first dibs on the new Prima each year, and the membership should include an invite for a tour of the winery. I'm in! At only £11.30 at Tanners, this is a special wine. I don't think I've tasted a wine so good for less than £12. I do love a good Cab Sav and this certainly delivers, saliva rushes over the tongue on first sip which fades to reveal velvety tannins coating the roof of the mouth. The heat of the Spanish summer days encourage the grapes to become fat and juicy, and the cooler nights allow them to retain their acidity. Big bam blackcurrant fruit, but with soft edges.
Wonderful story, gorgeous wines, and I wish Tom and Emma the best Primero Paso (first step) into the wine world. You should too, and go buy their wines - or come to my pop up wine bar in Marlow to try Paso Primero. Click here to see if I am currently showcasing these wines.