Our tasting impressions
Such a fun wine - youthful, exuberant and round. It has spicy and zesty dark fruit flavors that are accentuated by just a touch of toasty vanilla. It's quite a meaty wine though and there are tannins that provide nice structure and depth. It is longer than typical for this level - but no surprise given the old vines and winemaking talent.
About this wine
María & Carlos have a couple of different brands besides Traslanzas, under which they bottle. This Tinto is 100% Tempranillo from vineyards over 50 years old. The soil is clay, with some stones. The vineyard is at an elevation of 750 meters in Mucientes.
Harvesting is manual. The grapes are de-stemmed for the crush. Maceration is 9 to 11 days at a temperature of 25-27ºC. Malolactics are in stainless steel tank. Aging is in American oak barrels for 4 months and in bottle for 2 more. The term Joven suggests a wine that is intended for early drinking.
About the grape
Tempranillo is the most prominent grape of Spain and the third most planted in the world. Its name means "early little one" because of its tendency to riper earlier than its frequent partner Garnacha. It originated in the Iberian Peninsula, probably around the 9th Century. The grapes are dark, thick-skinned, low to moderately acidic and have smooth tannins. The wines are capable of very long aging.
María's view of the vintage
Frost, little rain and a hot summer resulted in one-third less fruit production from the prior year. Maria says: "At the end of April the alarms went off since the frosts began to wreak havoc. The bud break was beginning to occur early, about two weeks earlier than usual. The sun was disappearing and the ice was playing its role, beginning to assume that much of the 2017 vintage would be lost." Indeed, much of the fruit was destroyed but the quality of what remained was good and well-concentrated.
On your table
This is a terrific wine for tapas if you want to drink red. More specifically try it with Spanish cured meats like chorizo, morcilla and jamón. Overall, this wine comes to my mind constantly when the situation calls for a bigger red without heavy tannins.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl 1855
The Denominación of Cigales is best known for producing terrific Rosado wines. But some incredibly talented people had a vision that the Tempranillo (or Tinta del País as its known in Cigales) from this area in Castilla y León, just north of Madrid, could produce red wines of class and distinction.
Maria Pinacho and Carlos Gonzalez owned vines planted in 1945 by her grandfather and a 14th Century cellar that is truly lost in time. The soil dates to the Miocene Epoch with deposits from the Tertiary Era. This combines with the influence from the Atlantic Ocean and wildly divergent climate conditions to engender unique terroir.
They teamed up with enologists Ana Martin and Pepe Hidalgo to produce the first vintage of Traslanzas in 1998. There has not been time or need to look back. Vineyards were added - for a total now of 30 hectares - planted to 90% Tempranillo (the rest are Albio & Garnacha which are used for their other brands Pinacho and Remolón). Annual production is 80,000 - 100,000 bottles.
These are warm, generous and deeply dedicated winemakers who have defined a new and exciting genre for Spanish wine.