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Pasos Largos  (Long Legs) Wines.
A romantic Robin Hood story behind the label.

With bringing the amazing Apasos Roble 2012 everyday wine by Pasos Largos to Singapore, we thought you might wish to know what does the name of the winery stands for. Pasos Largos literally means long steps or rather long legs. By the way, Apasos means small steps which is fair as Apasos wines are much younger that the old good mature Pasos Largos 2008.

"Pasos Largos" - Juan José Mingolla Gallardo The Last of the Spanish Bandoleros

Spanish land pirates and contrabandistas drifted the country of Spain during the "romantic" years from th 1770's to the end of the 1890's.

Robin Hoodlums, helping the local poor and homeless? Blood-thirsty pirates and crazy ex-soldiers? Who knows...

They were ex-soldiers, common bandits, political and social anarchists and true soldiers of fortune. They were the romantic country bandits who controlled rural Spain's bi-ways and country roads, sometimes non-violently-but mostly with bloody savagery. Hijacking, horse robbery, kidnapping of the rich. Social and political upheavals with the French invasion of Spain in the early 1800's only increased there numbers and gave these romantic bandits a popular appeal among country folk after increased land captivation and higher taxation. Andalucia was there favorite "hunting ground" and lots of stories abound among the hills of Ronda north of Malaga.

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This is the story of the last of these romantic figures, Juan José Mingolla Gallardo, nicknamed - Pasos Largos, who brought Bandolerismo into our twentieth century world.

His story begins just one kilometer from Ronda where two dry gulches meet, and two ancient highways. The child Juan José was born 4 May in 1873. Country boy living with his farming family, José quite likely heard stories of the Bandoleros from his parents during the cold winter nights in the mountains of Ronda. After his father´s death José was called to join the Spanish soldiers in Cuba during the American-Spanish-Cuban war. Returning to Ronda after his turn as soldier (suffering from sickness and Carribean fever) he returned to Ronda a thin, sickly man in his thirties. Needing work but being of the "Languid" type and a bit lazy, our very tall and thin soldier spent much time in the taverns and inns enjoying his drinks and lack of money. Aside from the bars and taverns "Pasos Largos" ( a nickname inherited from his father meaning long-legs...) would spend time gambling, quite good I hear, and finding his daily bread in the hills and mountains around Ronda shooting game animals, hunting, stealing from the cabins and robbing people along the mountain highways. Sickly and very tall ex-soldier, anarchist, gambler, romantic and permanent client of the local taverns. Oh, such a beautiful life. What could go wrong?

This is where the problem starts. You see, such game hunting was illegal in the natural parks back then, and the local sheriffs (La Guardia Civil) began asking him, begging, then scolding- and finally warning him that they would apply the law and arrest him if he continued. In 1916, within the natural park called EL Coto de los Chopos (favorite stomping grounds of The Bandoleros of old) the local guardian of the park finally grew tired of telling his old village companion to stay away from the beasts of the field. The guardian of the park living in the little cabin assigned to him by the state to care for the park called in the Guard, and José was beaten marvelously by the police (supposedly) and dragged off to prison - threatening revenge to the sneak who ratted on him. And on the 8 of May of that year, after serving his time and leaving prison, Pasos Largos found the son of the Park guardian while hunting (again) in the hills of Ronda and Pasos Largos shot the boy he did he did, and he wacked the boys neck with the boy's very own sharp farming sickle. And he proceed to the cabin of the father which he also killed he did he did, with the sickle of his very own son, hitting him ten times. The wife of the guardian had managed to escape the cabin and inform the Guardia Civil. Thence a manhunt began. But Pasos Largos knew his county, and more than once he had managed to escape caputre. One day in june, while strolling through the woods he managed to surprise two Sheriff+s officers-who were probably looking for HIM-while they rested. He captured their weapons and sent them walking back to Ronda town. Later he gave the weapons to a young boy and asked him to bring these weapons to the local sheriff so that the two sheriff's deputies "wouldn't get into too much trouble". From there his fame only grew. There is another story of how Pasos Largos kidnapped a local wealthy man from Ronda named Diego Villarejo. While waiting for the 10.000 reales españoles in payment from the family, the two men sat in the mountain cabin enjoying some food, wine and some smokes. After receiving his money Pasos Largos was also given a watch with a golden chain by Diego for such a lovely time they had...hmmm.

The 12 of August (1927?) was he finally arrested after the local police in Ronda had been given dozens of men to search all the cabins in the hills around town. "Pasos" hides in a goatherders cabin near El Peñon del Mure. Lots of sheriff's officers arrive. They surround the cabin, but Pasos manages an escape after injuring officer enrique Bravo. But Officer Bravo got in a good shot and wounded Pasos in the chest. The sherrif's officers could have shot him as he ran away-public enemy number SOMETHING him being, but the officers decided not to shoot him in the back as he ran, and the chase would have to continue another place and time. Which they did, when he arrived at his favorite local tavern in Ronda owned by Antonio Sibaja. Pasos asked if someone might go find the police so he could turn himself in. After being treated by a doctor for gunshot wounds and finally delivered to the local courthouse a group of locals from the neighborhood tried to set him free, being beaten back by the police. Confronted by a judge, he was sentenced to prison by a war trials commity (he being soldier) and delivered to his cell in Figueres Prison.

March 1932:

Amnisty. That means he is free to leave prison...Paso Largos is about 70 years old.

He returned to Ronda where he found a dignified job as (don't laugh) guardian of a property in Bagallón owned by one of the men he had robbed 20 years ago. And he did an honest job for a few months, really he did! But old habits die hard, and after boring himself to death he left the job with a little money and bought himself an old rifle wired together with bailing wire. To maintain himself he headed for the hills...to hunt animals in the natural park...oh,oh. Drifting from place to place and stealing food just enough for survival from local discreet victims and selling his dead animals to locals in Ronda. Pasos Largos is captured again by two local sheriff's officers and sentenced by judge to 8 months in the Malaga prison for carrying an illegal weapon.

After leaving prison Pasos tries to avoid the police as much as possible (I wonder why?) and he is occasionally pestered and molestered by them. Rumors are that Pasos Largos is looking for revenge on the two sherrif's officers who arrested him last year.

Finally, the 15 of March in 1934, two policemen and a police dog catch up with him in the snowy mountains of Sierra Blanquilla. The local farmer who gave him hospitality told the police that "three hours ago Pasos Largos had been here." The police and their dog follow the trail up to towards the caves. Pasos is seen by the police. Six in the morning 18 of March in 1934. They move to come up quietly behind him among the trees. His back is turned to them, sitting among the trees and snow. The police tell him not to move or they will kill him. Pasos jumps quickly - 70+ years old - and tries to run. He makes it to the caves. Palmito's cave. His face is injured. Shots are fired. The police are face to face with him Pasos shoots. Police shoot. A bullet hits his chest....

Alone, inside his cave, "Pasos Largos" - Juan José Mingolla Gallardo dies, The Last of the Spanish Bandoleros.

Original copy is here.


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