It’s been ten years since we were first introduced to the estate of Bodegas Pago de Cirsus, La Finca Bolandín in Ablitas, and yes, things have changed, all for the better. The single vineyard, winery, Hotel-Chateau and Restaurant are located in the southernmost part of Navarra, the “bread and vegetable basket” region of La Ribera, adjacent to the Bardenas Reales Nature Park. The estate covers a total of 220 hectares (544 acres), 136.7 hectares of which are covered with vines.
The Bardenas Reales, a semi-dessert landscape stretching over 42,000 hectares, might look familiar to James Bond fans, as it doubled for Kazakhstan in the Bond film “The World is Not Enough”. An area of extraordinary beauty, the Bardenas Reales landscape, with its rocky formations, takes on a moon-like appearance with its craters, gullies and solitary outcrops formed over millions of years by erosion.
Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, the hotel The Château consists of a tower built of old ashlar stones, in the style of a 14th-century fortress, sitting above a sea of vineyards, along with a state-of-the-art winery supervised by one of Europe’s most renowned oenologists. Under the direction of Jean Marc Sauboua, Bordeaux (France), one of the first “Flying Winemakers”, who has been working with the winery since 2003, Pago de Cirsus, one of only five Vino de Pagos in Navarra, has an impressive list of premium wines, including their outstanding Oak-Aged Red, Selección de Familia 2011 and delicious Oak-Aged White, Chardonnay Fermentado en Barrica 2014.
The ambitious project of visionary film producer and wine maker Iñaki Núñez, this exquisite unique retreat provides offers breathtaking views and gorgeous sunsets, a 400-volume film library and a cozy 30-seat cinema where the guests can watch movies of their choice on demand, plus a wine tasting laboratory where wine connoisseurs can sample the estate’s several grape varietals-Chardonnay, Muscatel, Tempranillo, Merlot, Garnacha, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The hotel’s dramatic décor is evocative of a lavish movie set-a romantic’s fantasy-like spending the night in an enchanted castle. The dozen guest quarters, distributed among the four floors of the stone tower, have been lovingly decorated with the finest of fabrics and furnishings. In-room amenities include a 37-inch High Definition Oki TV, Bang and Olufsen phones, DVD players, complimentary Wi-Fi, flasks of aged Scotch and rum, and of course, copies of Wine Spectator.
The equally stunning restaurant, awarded one Repso sun in 2016, separated from the winery’s barrel cellar by an enormous glass wall, is where chef Ignacio “Nacho” Gómara serves the finest regional produce from La Ribera; delectable local asparagus, artichokes and wild mushrooms, delicately prepared and finished off with the estate’s own arbequina olive and white truffle oils. Both the Pago’s award-winning wines and artisan oils are available for purchase. The restaurant is closed on Sunday for dinner and all day Monday. Call (+34) 948 386 426 for reservations.
Château Hotel Pago de Cirsus has proven to be one of the most spectacular hotel–restaurants on Spain’s burgeoning wine tourism circuit. Located 90 minutes drive south of Pamplona on the AP-15 and about an hour southeast of Logroño on the N232, it can be visited as a day trip or better yet, plan on spending a couple of memorable nights to explore the region. It makes for a perfect get-away.