Finca Museum Cigales Reserva 2016  £19.73

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Finca Museum is based in Cigales, a small DO located in Castilla y León, east of Valladolid. Although the area was once known for its dry rosados, it is the Tinta del País, a thicker skinned Tempranillo, that excels today. The continental climate of Cigales (with temperatures reaching 40°C in the summer, even at 700 metres altitude) and the soils poor in organic matter combine to ensure low yields and great wines. The vines are on average 40 years old and one of the reasons they have survived is because the soils are too poor to grow other crops such as cereal. As the name suggests, the winery is also a museum, with sculpture and paintings dating back to the 17th century.

The Museum Reserva is made from dry-farmed bush vines that are over 70 years old, planted at an altitude of 750 metres above sea level. The yields are extremely low, between 1 - 2.5 tonnes per hectare, giving the wine outstanding concentration and intensity. Soils are very poor, with layers of gravel, sand, limestone and chalk over clay, which also leads to intensely flavoured grapes.

Budbreak arrived early in the spring. During the flowering stage, a change in weather conditions brought rain and wind and produced significant coulure which meant a 30% reduction in production. The summer was very dry and warm, helping the remaining grapes to ripen fully. The vintage started quite early, with ideal conditions for harvesting high quality grapes.

The grapes were hand harvested into small crates to avoid them being crushed before they reached the winery. Grapes were sorted manually in the winery and then de-stalked. Fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks at 27 - 30ºC. It continued for 15 days with pumping over for maximum extraction of flavour and colour. Next, the wine spent 20 months in new French oak barrels giving it complexity, roundness and harmony.

The result is a wine which is deep ruby red in colour, which opens with aromas of red berries, blackcurrants and cranberries. The red fruit continues onto the palate, and is accompanied by hints of savoury spice and liquorice. The finish is long, with hints of roasted hazelnut.

A superb value for money wine.  Try with good cuts of red meat or strong hard cheeses.

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