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Pancrudo Terroir Selection 2016 vintage hits the market

Grenache grown in a cold mountainous area in the Upper Najerilla Valley of Rioja DOCa.

29 of May of 2018

The Gómez Cruzado winery in Haro’s Barrio de la Estación is debuting the 2016 vintage of its PANCRUDO TERROIR SELECTION. This wine is an expression of Grenache grown in a cold mountainous area. The grapes hail from old vineyards located across several different plots around the village of Badarán, in the Upper Najerilla Valley of Rioja DOCa. Grown in a traditionally claret region, this Grenache exhibits a unique, delicate and subtle character. The potential of this area to produce red wine with finesse, minerality, acidity and fruitiness has been recently rediscovered.

Wine critic and writer Oz Clarke declares PANCRUDO one of the best Grenache wines in the world in his recent article on the best wines of this variety published in the British magazine Decanter (June 2018 issue). Oz Clarke highlights the fact that his list includes a Rioja made from 100% Grenache. He also encourages Rioja to move away from Tempranillo’s dominance.

Gómez Cruzado oenologist David González defines PANCRUDO TERROIR SELECTION as a "village wine that portrays the unaltered expression of Grenache". This wine belongs to a collection born from the winery’s desire to convey the expressions of very specific plots of land, and the truly unique characteristics that distinguish these plots from the rest, in a designation of origin as richly nuanced as Rioja.

The bush-trained vines, where PANCRUDO begins, date back approximately 80 years and grow in reddish ferrous clay soil on North-facing slopes at over 650 meters above sea level. This wine takes its name from the Pancrudo Mountains of the Sierra de la Demanda that overlook these vineyards.

“The grapes from these vineyards stand out because of their strong fruitiness and marked acidity. In the past these vineyards were used to make claret. But with a viticulture focused on red wine, and considering the low yield and warmer weather in recent years, the latest vintages have ripened enough to create truly fine red wines”, explains David González.

The result is a “mountainous Grenache” which is very different from grapes of the same variety grown in warmer conditions. This so-called “cold" Grenache is a late-ripening variety in a late region. When they finally do ripen, these grapes make for very subtle, fruity wines with great minerality”, notes González. The oenologist insists that the meticulous, manual labor characteristic of the grape growers in the Upper Najerilla Valley is key to growing Grenache in such cold conditions.

The 2016 vintage in Rioja was characterized by water stress in some vineyards. August was a completely dry month with exceedingly high temperatures. However, areas such as the Upper Najerilla enjoyed more favorable conditions due to their high altitude and soil with good water retention capacity. Some rainfall throughout September allowed the ripening process to come to completion without any problems, with harvest taking place the last week of October. Given the wide thermal amplitude during the final days of maturation, the grapes had more anthocyanins than in previous years.

PANCRUDO TERROIR SELECTION is crafted following traditional methods; fermentation takes place in open stainless steel vats. Gentle plunging carefully extracts noble compounds from the skins. And in line with the Gómez Cruzado's ceaseless endeavor to incorporate theoretical and technological advances to achieve the purest expression of terroir, malolactic fermentation takes place in a stainless steel egg-shaped tank and French oak barrels with a specially selected toast so as not to interfere with the wine's basic character. 65% of production ages for 12 months in new French oak barrels, while 35% spends this time in the egg-shaped tank.

The 2016 vintage of PANCRUDO TERROIR SELECTION, which is limited to 6,984 bottles and 188 magnum bottles, perfectly reflects Gómez Cruzado’s philosophy behind its collection of village wines: loyalty to terroir rooted in the land and local know-how of the most privileged areas in Rioja. “It is an excellent representative of Grenache grown in a cold area in a soil quite unlike any other in Rioja”, boasts Juan Antonio Leza, director of viticulture at Gómez Cruzado.

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