Castillo de Cuzcurrita

Half an hour out west of Haro, the hamlet of Cuzcurrita de Río Tirón approaches the limit of La Rioja. Out here a local typicity due to the cold delivers acid freshness unusual in Tempranillo. The property is 7 hectares of old vines on a hill above the 14th century castle or Castillo of Cuzcurrita del Río Tirón. The Tirón is a tributary of the Río Ebro, the river which defines la Rioja. Here in the limits of the north-western Rioja above 550m altitude, freshness is guaranteed - ripeness is marginal. Cuzcurrita's first vintage was 2000, and two wines are made by winemaker Ana Martín , both of which are 'Reservas'. They are 100% Tempranillo and all are 'en vaso' - goblet-pruned bush vines. The main vineyard was planted in 1970. Initially very vigorous, organics and yield reduction now see production reduced to a startlingly low half a kilo/vine from the sandy, stony soil. Harvest is very late, usually commencing in mid-October. The wines are worked only with gravity and are aged in French oak. With the outstanding acidity found here, the wines can be largely be left alone in the winery. They are handled as little as possible.

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