Winemaker: Victor de la Serna
Grape: 76% Syrah, 13% Mourvedre, and 11% Bobal
Region: Manchuela, Spain
W/A: 94 points
IWC: 93+ points
Finca Sandoval wine project was born in 1998, when respected wine critique and journalist Victor de la Serna had a dream to start a vineyard from scratch. In little known region of Manchuela in Casa Blanca, province of Cuenca (140 miles from Madrid).
Manchuela, known for local large-berried grape called Bobal, had a very poor and shallow types of soil and Mr. de la Serna believed that if he planted this rough terrain (about 2,500 ft above the sea level) with top quality Syrah, it might result in quite incredible wine.
Like many top wine terroirs in Spain, Manchuela had a huge potential but nobody from local farmers had a capital to embrace the opportunity and start a serious wine project.His vision was correct. Finca Sandoval released its first vintage in 2001 as a blend of top quality, but young Syrah, sourced from 2 vineyards (about 26 acres), combined with the best selection of local Bobal, and Monastrell, both old vines.
The uniqueness of this project is also in several different types of soil, the estate has acquired control of – different small, old vineyards planted with Bobal, Monastrell and Garnacha.Read more about this project in my blog The man behind Finca SandovalBy the way, unlike well known Monastrell (Mouvedre) and Garnacha (Grenache) – the typical Rhône varietals, Bobal is only grown in Spain and in Sardinia.
My first ever opportunity to taste it was few years back, when we tasted Finca Sandoval in Spain, all the existing vintages in the row, with Mr. de la Serna himself.
The grapes (from each variety and each soil type) are vinified and then aged separately. Harvest is done by hand with an extensive selection of the best grapes only. When they de-stem it, grapes undergo a cold soak – for about 10 days, following traditional Burgundy or Rhône practices.
Before the fermentation starts, it is launched by native yeasts. Slow, cool fermentation is performed and after gentle pressing all the wine undergo malolactic fermentation in barrel. Wine then age 11-13 months in new French (85%) and American oak. The final blend is decided after tasting the wines .
Deep purple color and aromas of ripe dark berries, blackberries and wild raspberries. On the palate this is a big, impressive wine, with fantastic layers of dark fruit flavors.
The blend is spiced up with soft tones of oak, soft tannins and perfect acidity. I can feel a gentle dust of cocoa on the back of my tong. Superb, long and generous finish.
Complexity of this wine promises a long aging potential, experts suggest that it could be at its peak around 2012-2025. I am not sure that I can wait that long with my last bottle of this vintage.
Dry – Off dry- Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: about $ 40.00
Ideal food pairing:
rack of lamb, Musaka, Beef Bourguignon, Beef Chorizo, Flank steak with shitakee sauce