Saturday took us to the lesser known area of Cigales to the north of Valladolid. Despite only obtaining DO status in 1991, Cigales has a long winemaking history but was devastated by phylloxera and was slow to recover. It always had a reputation for top class rosado, but more recently its red wines made from Tempranillo are being taken very seriously.
Our first visit was to Finca Museum. This is owned by the huge Baron de Ley wine group. In 1999 they were seeking to diversify their portfolio and acquired lots of old vineyards at a time when people were just beginning to realise the potential. They have an old hermitage and have created a spectacular winery overlooking vast tracts of vineyards.
Export manager Inigo Echavarri had driven 260km from Logroño to meet us along with their winemaker Luis Chaca. This was a formidable team as we walked around the winery, glass in hand, and started tasting from the tanks. A very light Verdejo – their first vintage of the grape for them, followed by a young 2018 red that was destined for reserva status but had yet to see any time in barrel, followed by a 2016 red that we tasted from tank but had spent two years in barrel. This was a brilliant way to show the style of their wines and kept everyone on their toes.
Into the gloriously luxurious tasting lounge, everyone availed themselves of comfy sofas and tucked into a fabulous Rosado, the Verdejo – now bottled, the Crianza and Reserva.
This was a brilliant visit, superbly hosted and culminating in a terrific set of wines. Cigales is now on the map for everyone!
From Finca Museum, it was a short hop to Vina Concejo. My friend Enrique Concejo was at their new bodega to greet us and introduced the estate and history before we watched a couple of videos and tasted the new delicious 7% abv sweet rosado frizzante which just seemed to evaporate….We then headed to the Hospederia, an old castle that has been converted into a hotel by the family to taste six wines and six small tapas.
This is something quite unique as the chef is Enrique’s brother in law – I met him back in 2012 – and is incredibly innovative. Three rosados in different styles, three reds including a magnum of their 2012 top wine and six fabulous food creations to pair.
Enrique is a very engaging host and we all came away with a deep understanding of the region and excited about the future prospects of Cigales wines.