Finca Museum Vinea Tempranillo Crianza 2015  £14.95

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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 above sea level) 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 Vinea Crianza comes from a plot of bush trained vines of up to 50 years in age, located 700 - 750 metres above sea level. Soils are very poor, with layers of gravel, sand, limestone and chalk over clay and sand. The old vines produce low yields of very concentrated grapes. The vineyards are hand harvested with great care into small crates no higher than 90cm so as not to crush the grapes before they arrive at the winery.

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 wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures of 20 - 26°C with regular pump overs to extract colour and tannin. It was then aged for 15 months in 60% American and 40% French oak barrels, with 20% new American oak and the rest second and third fill. The wine was not filtered before bottling.

This wine is deep cherry in colour, with violet highlights in the glass. It is intense, expressive and complex with a powerful fruit driven nose of very ripe red fruits. Complex layering of dark cherries, plums, cocoa, vanilla, coconut and mocha nuances, all highlighted by balsamic hints. The well-structured ripe tannins support the smooth, lingering finish.

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