Red wine Barrel. 16 months in French and American oak barrels. Winery: César Príncipe. D.O. Cigales. (Castilla y León) Variety: Tempranillo
D.O.: D.O. Cigales
In the Valladolid town of Fuensaldaña, Ignacio Príncipe has transformed the traditional family winemaking business into one of the most thriving viticultural projects of Denomination of Origin Cigales.
With a Degree in Business Sciences, but always linked to family winemaking, he began introducing, firstly with his father and now on his own, the most modern techniques to produce wines of the highest quality.
Although his business project is relatively young, Ignacio Príncipe's relationship with winegrowing goes back several generations, as the family has been making wine since 1982, following the tradition of Ignacio's grandfather. This is, making wine from their own vineyard in the underground winery to sell it in bulk. Since then, the evolution has been gigantic. Ignacio has the idea of doing something great, not in size, but in quality. Also, to do something exciting, that allowed him to go from pruning in the field in the mornings to sharing an event with the most influential people in a luxury hotel in the afternoon. It belongs to Denomination of Origin Cigales, and it is one of those wineries that have had the great merit of being the drivers of the great change that has taken place for some years in the area.
History of the winery
Despite the fact that the Príncipe family has maintained the winegrowing and winemaking activity for several generations, the investment in the current winery began in 2000.
A winery that Ignacio thinks is still unfinished, since it has been expanded with 700 square metres more, and from 50 barrels they have moved on to 200.
The winery is situated on the road from Fuensaldaña to Mucientes, in Fuensaldaña. It dates from the late 90s, when they took the step of transforming the traditional winery for the production of rosé wines, sold in bulk and in the family-run hotel business, into a winery focused mainly on bottled wines. All of this takes place at the same time as the expansion of the vineyards. Up to 23 hectares were planted between 1991 and 1992, with the aim of taking an important qualitative step, although keeping small production volumes.
In 2000, the evolution cycle ended with the production of the first red wine, César Príncipe. This cycle has been led since 1982 by Ignacio Príncipe, the only one of the several children of César involved in the winery. With that decision, this small winery of Fuensaldaña led the way for other producers in Cigales, who chose to compete without insecurities in the scope of quality red wines.
Since this new stage, the main concern of the winery César Príncipe and its creator, Ignacio Príncipe, has been the vineyard, because you cannot make a great wine with just a normal grape.
For this reason, Ignacio Príncipe considered the evolution of his wines returning to their origins, recovering some of the practices they had always used in this area, where their ways of production were not based on technical criteria, but on experience, knowledge of the specific lands where they cultivate, the varieties and climate variables.
In the end, the idea is to do things as they have always been done, but with maximum control and applying the pros of modern technology. The main aim is for the grapes to arrive at the winery every year as best as possible, to make the wines by César Príncipe capable of reflecting the characteristics of the area.
Currently, the winery has more than 50 hectares of vineyard, of which 17 correspond to the original farm of the family, in Fuensaldaña. It is planted with old vines that are over 50 years old, planted in vase-shape. Most of them are Tempranillo, although there are also vines of Red Grenache and the white varieties Verdejo and Albillo.
To these we also have to add two other farms; one that was planted in 1991 and 1992 in the town of Corcos del Valle, entirely with Tempranillo and trained in espalier, with a structure of 3 by 1.5 metres. And another one of 13 hectares that they bought, with vines of 22-23 years, in the municipality of Trigueros. These vineyards do not have irrigation, a circumstance that, according to Ignacio Príncipe, is not a big concern, because they are not aiming for large productions, but to achieve high-quality grapes instead. As in all the old vineyards of the area, in many cases there are lands where different varieties that are present in the surroundings grow together: Tempranillo (the main variety), Red Grenache (still abundant) and the white varieties Verdejo and Albillo.
Wines from César Principe
Clarete de Luna is its young rosé wine made with 80% Tempranillo, and 20% between Albillo, Grenache and Verdejo. It is a wine with marked aromas of red fruits, flowers and fresh grass hints. In the mouth it is lively, round, tasty, very fruity with citric hints, easy to drink and to understand.
13 Cántaros Nicolás refers to a poster that was found in the winery that mentioned a debt of 13 "cántaras" of wine that were owed to Nicolás, by the founder of the family winery, Eutiquio. It is a red wine with an ageing of 8 months in oak barrels, made with 100% with Tempranillo. It offers a medium intensity aroma, honest, fruity and sweet, with aromas of very ripe red fruit, with spicy touches and light fresh balsamic notes. In the mouth it is ample, with a fruity and fluid mid-palate that becomes consistent thanks to its tannins, with a bitter hint, of moderate persistence and a pleasant aftertaste.
César Príncipe is made with grapes from three plots, all located in Fuensaldaña: Negral, La Parada and La Majada, vines planted before 1960, in vase-shape, with a very low density of 1,600 vines per hectare, and with a very low yield. The bunches were completely destemmed when they arrived at the winery; after a cold maceration of a couple of days, the must-paste was fermented in stainless steel deposits at a temperature of 28°C. Once the first fermentation is completed in 7-8 days, the skins remain in contact with the wine until three weeks of maceration have been completed. Part of the wine went through the malolactic fermentation in barrels, and the rest in deposits. After this, the wine is transferred to the French (80%) and American oak ageing barrels, renewed by 50% each year, in which it remained for 14 months, without racking. Finally, after plate filtering, without cooling, the wine is bottled. In the nose it is a complex and ample wine in aromas, with fruit, spices and notes of undergrowth. In the mouth it is ample, sweet, and elegant. Fine and deep, with silky sensations, meaty, intense and with a long finish.