Spain | Castilla y Leon | Cigales
La majada: the origin. The oldest vines were planted more than 100 years ago, low yield goeblet Tempranillo.
Picasso had his brush. Heifetz had his bow. Ignacio Príncipe has his pruning shears. A virtuoso in the vineyard, he wields his sharpened blades like a sculptor. Blink and you’ll miss it. Snap. Crackle. The hands blur. In less than 45 seconds, a voluptuous vine is pruned to its concentrated essence, three fundamental branches remaining to form a “seat” with enough strength and structure to hold the weight of a man should he need a place to rest. Now it is nature’s turn. The less promising buds have been sacrificed for those more likely to produce glory in the glass. How does the winemaker know which is which? That’s why it’s called the art of winemaking.
“I strive to unlock the magic of the vine,” says Ignacio.
Bodegas César Príncipe is located in Cigales, a small, fast-rising region just north of the wellknown Ribera del Duero. The cognoscenti know that Cigales winemakers like Ignacio are creating masterpieces from Tempranillo. Made from 60- to 70-year-old vines, his wines have true density, and they are certainly fit for the cellar. Yet they also offer harmony when young and immediate gratification. Intense fruit, lively acidity and pleasing tannin all come together to deliver maturity. Yes, this is wine making as it should be. Ignacio is a hands-on producer. Not every winemaker is as comfortable with his hands in the soil. But then, not every winemaker is an artist.