D.O. Cigales

The D.O Cigales was until recently a region that produced wines that were defined by the rural and traditional nature of the region and its ancient history. The wines here were made using traditional techniques such as stone vats, treading the grapes by foot and fermentation left to the vagaries of nature. However, over the past two decades, the reality of wine here has become something very different. One only has to enter any of the of the regions renowned wineries to notice that their wines have taken the highway of modernity, shaking off their old reputation. The region has continued to produce rosés, although now juicier, fresher and well balanced. The region is also leaning ever more towards the production of red wines, following the example set by other regions along the Duero river, although perhaps with the difference that here they may be easier to drink.

The first known inhabitants of this area were the Vaccaei, who were subjugated by the ancient Romans in the 2nd century BC. Later came the barbaric invasions of the Germans and Arabs, which gives the land a vast history, with numerous castles dotted across its municipalities, such as Trigueros del Valle, the Fuensaldaña or Mucientes where Juana La Loca stayed. Together with the castles began to spread the vineyards, especially property of the monasteries, where they needed the wine for both worship and for his private consumption.


Wines from Cigales were very successful not only in Spain but abroad, especially during the outbreak of phylloxera in French vineyards, when wines from Cigales arrived in Bordeaux, with about 15 million kilograms of grapes produced at that time. Like neighbouring regions, wines from Cigales also supplied cities such as Valladolid during the middle ages.


Until very recently, wines were made in underground cellars, which were often shared by small wine-makers (bodegueros) and which were excavated to depths of over 10 m.


The rosé wines produced in Cigales have been defined by their production as a blend of red and white varieties, taking into account the acclimatization of varieties to soil, climate and cultural practices of the area. Over the years there have been various experiments, collaborating with the oenological station of Castile and León, to determine the proper proportions of white and red varieties that result in the typical rose wine from Cigales.


The region began experimenting with the production of red wines in 1985, producing their first reserva wine with the 1991 vintage, the same year in which the DO Cigales was officially recognised. However, in 2011, after several years of proven experience, new regulations allowed the production of white, sparkling and sweet wines to be made under the DO Cigales classification.


The DO Cigales is located in the northwest of Spain, just north of Valladolid along both banks of the River Pisuerga. The region is home to nearly 3,000 hectares of vineyards, which are situated on average 750 metres above sea level. The DO Cigales spans over 574 km, the smallest DO in Castilla y León. It is home to 500 registered wine growers, and 34 wineries.



Climate, Soil and Varieties.


The DO Cigales is home to a continental climate, characteristic of the central plateau, with Atlantic influences and stark temperature fluctuations, with temperatures often dropping below 0ºC in winter, and reaching highs of 40ºC in summer. The climate is also characterized by irregular rainfall and strong summer droughts, with raw and long winters that characterized by regular fog, frosts and the Ponente and Abrego winds.


The annual average insolation is estimated at 2616 hours, with a maximum of 371 hours in July, and a minimum of 87 hours in December. La precipitación media anual es de 407 mm que se reparten en 93 días al año. The annual rainfall is 407 mm spread over 93 days of the year.


The soil consists of tertiary and quaternary sediments: sands, limestone and gypsum loam, resting on clay and loam. It has a weak granular structure, fine or medium, with little stoniness and with little organic matter.


In regards to grape varieties, Tempranillo and Tinta del País dominate, along with Garnacha Tinta. In respect to white varieties, the region is home to the Viura, Verdejo and Albillo grapes, which have been the basis of the regions Rosé wines.  Although as of 2011, winemakers have started experimenting with international varieties; Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, which have been enjoying growing success in neighboring regions Toro



Wines and wineries of the DO Cigales


In recent years, small scale produces have concentrated their efforts on producing red wines by blending the tinta del pais with garnacha, producing wines which mature excellently in small oak barrels. The potential to produce first class wine is there, however the region lacks vintners who are capable of creating a more defined style of red wine. Rosés produced in the region are renowned for their freshness, lightness and pleasant aromas. 


Wineries.


Bodegas Lezcano Lacalle is perhaps the best example of modernity in the region. The winery was founded in the early eighties with the aim of producing red wines using the Tempranillo grape. The winery is seen as a pioneer within the region, producing and commercialising the first reserva in the DO Cigales, the ‘Lezcano Lacalle Reserva 1991’. The winery is currently home to three different plots of vineyards, formerly part of the Valdetrigueros manor. Currently the Tinta del País grape accounts for over 80% of the wineries 16 hectares of vineyards, which are also home to another 5 varieties, two more red and three white varieties. The winery produces two reservas: the Lezcano Lacalle and Dú, made from a careful selection of the grapes. Another red produced by the winery is Maudes, as well as their famous rosé Docetañidos, which was released for the first time with the 1994 harvest and is the model of a modern pink wine that combines smooth and powerful structure.


Another winery worth mentioning in the DO Cigales is Frutos Villar, whose history dates back to 1920, when the Frutos Villar family founded their first winery in Toro, anticipating the concept of D.O (Denominacións de Origin). 40 years later, in 1960, instinct lead the family to set up and settle in Cigales, as well as setting up wineries in the D.O Ribera del Duero in 1988 and D.O Rueda in 1990. The winery began its journey in Cigales with the acquisition of 100 hectares of vineyards, although the winery now also maintains a supply with selected independent grape growers. The winery is home to the most up to date modern production techniques, with spectacular collection of 200 American oak barrels, of which 25% are renewed every year. The winery produces two lines of wines under the labels Calderona and Conde Ansurez. Calderona is a rosé produced with Tempranillo, Garnacha, Verdejo and Albillo, as well as a series of single variety Tempranillo red wines, from young wines up to reservas that have been aged in oak. However, they are better known for their Calderona Élite range of wines, which include a tempranillo Rosé wine, as well as a red that is free and expressive, aged on average for 18 months in American (90%) and French (10%) oak barrels, made with grapes from old vines. Then, under their Conde Ansurez label, they produce a rosé, a young red wine and a crianza red wine that is aged for a minimum of 12 months in the barrel. The philosophy of the winery and the character of its wines, both red and rosé, is the focus on the Tempranillo variety.


Also located in the municipality of Cubillas de Santa Maria is the Valdelosfrailes winery, which is part of the Matarromera Group, which expanded into the DO Cigales in 1998. The family initially cultivated the vines and produced wines using traditional techniques in Cubillas de Santa Marta and Valoria la Buena. However, it was Carlos Moro who arrived an began renovation to produce new red wines: produed carefully in limited quantities. Currently the winery is home to an impressive collection of 500 French and American oak barrels, where the winery ages their wines. The winery is home to 60 hectares of vineyards, which are dominated by Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, used to produce wines under the Valdelosfrailes brand. The winery produces white and red wines, as well as the typical modern rosé where floral notes flow along with notes of ripe fruit, with an ample and fresh palate, body, and a balanced acidity. Their line of red wines are made almost exclusively with Temranillo, including :Valdelosfrailes Prestigio, obtained from a selection of grapes and 14 months in French and American oak barrels, and Valdelosfrailes Pago De Las Costanas, a freer red with fruiter highlights, tannin maturity and meatiness. The highest end wine produced by the winery is the Valdelosfrailes Selección Personal Carlos Moro, using grapes taken exclusively from the Pago de la Sallana, a 3.5 hectare vineyard, which is aged for 21 months in oak barrels, with only 1,000 bottles being produced her vintage.


Then there is Bodegas Pilcar in Valoria La Buena. Although the winery was officially founded back in 1998, its story begins over 100 years ago, when the family cultivated vineyards and produced wines at a local level. In fact, the great grandfather of the current owner, Enrique Council, built with his own hands a press over 100 years ago and is still preserved in the cellar, with which he produced muscatel which was very well received in the area. The current winery began to take shape in 1987, with the planting of new vineyards and the restructuring of plots and payments that were already owned by the winery. The name of the winery, Pilcar, honours the memory of Pilar and Carlos, the initiators of the project. In 2000, they produced their first wine: Viña Concejo crianza 1998, which was subsequently followed by young wines of the house which took the name of the Carredueñas estate, a property of the winery, which spanned over 26 hectares, 15 of which are dedicated to cultivation of vineyards aged between 6 and 25 years.


Another pioneer in the revolution of D.O. Cigales is César Príncipe, located at the highest part of Fuensaldaña, whose cellar of the Prince family dates from the mid-1990s, when the winery was shifted from producing traditional bulk claret wines to focusing on bottled wines.The family and the winery retains the original 17 hectare vineyard in the municipality of Fuensaldaña, where the vines are aged between 40-50 years, planted on goblet trained vines, and are home to Tempranillo, Garnacha, Verdejo and Albillo grapes. The winery has then gone on to extend, with another 23 hectares of Tempranillo  vineyards in the neighboring town of Corcos del Valle, but the philosophy of the winery is maintained, with quality being placed over quantity. The winery produces under the label Clarete de Luna a rosé; the red César Príncipe, which is aged for 14 months in French and American oak barrels, and 13 Cántaros Nicolás, a single variety Tempranillo (100%) that is aged for 8 months.


Another winery that is worth mentioning is Finca Museum, from the Barón de Ley Group (Rioja), which currently has 240 hectares. The winery produces many wines, including: Vinea Rosado, a single variety Rosé; Vinea Crianza, a single variety Tempranillo red wine, aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels; then at the top of the range, Museum, a red wine made from selected grapes grown on very old vines, over 70 years´ old, planted in soils consisting of 50cms of stone on top a chalky-clay subsoil. These vines crown the heights overlooking the Pisuerga valley, at an altitude of 790 metres, just a few kilometres outside of Valladolid. This wine is aged for 24 months in new French oak, giving the wine a delicate roasted character, with spicy notes of licorice, red fruits and berries, with a background of balsamic and minerals. Museum is delicate, subtle and elegant in its entry into the mouth, ample, with rounded tannins, with volume and creamy, and a silky palate, it is very expressive with a long finish. 

Wineries belonging to the D.O Cigales:

Outstanding wines from the D.O. Cigales:

  • Museum Reserva 2011

    Red wine Reserva. 12 months in bottle and 24 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Museum. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais.

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    10,45 €/u
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    Museum Reserva 2011

    Red wine Reserva. 12 months in bottle and 24 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Museum. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais.

    10,95 VAT incl.
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    10,45 €/u
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  • Calderona Crianza 2010

    Red wine Crianza. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Frutos Villar. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    7,85 VAT incl.
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    7,35 €/u
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    Calderona Crianza 2010

    Red wine Crianza. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Frutos Villar. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    7,85 VAT incl.
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    7,35 €/u
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  • Calderona Reserva 2008

    Red wine Reserva. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Frutos Villar. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    9,60 VAT incl.
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    9,15 €/u
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    Calderona Reserva 2008

    Red wine Reserva. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Frutos Villar. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    9,60 VAT incl.
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    9,15 €/u
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  • César Príncipe 2013

    Red wine Barrel. 14 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: César Príncipe. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    • Peñin 92
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    18,95 €/u
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    César Príncipe 2013

    Red wine Barrel. 14 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: César Príncipe. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    • Peñin: 92
    19,95 VAT incl.
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    18,95 €/u
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  • Valdelosfrailes Vendimia Seleccionada Crianza 2010

    Red wine Crianza. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Val de los Frailes. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    10,75 VAT incl.
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    10,25 €/u
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    Valdelosfrailes Vendimia Seleccionada Crianza 2010

    Red wine Crianza. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Val de los Frailes. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tempranillo.

    10,75 VAT incl.
    6x
    10,25 €/u
  • Val de los Frailes Vendimia Seleccionada 2005

    Red wine Crianza. 12 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Val de los Frailes. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais.

    • Decántalo 88
    8,70 VAT incl.
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    8,35 €/u
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    Val de los Frailes Vendimia Seleccionada 2005

    Red wine Crianza. 12 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Val de los Frailes. Production area: Cigales. Grapes used in this wine: Tinta del Pais.

    • Decántalo: 88
    8,70 VAT incl.
    6x
    8,35 €/u
    Out of stock!
    Sold out
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