Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2020 edition panel tasting of Affordable Rioja (see blue link below).
Rioja Crianza, Sierra Cantabria 2016 - March 2020 Decanter review
Founded in 1957 by Guillermo Eguren, Sierra Cantabria is nestled in the heart of San Vicente de la Sonsierra, a town of great winemaking tradition, situated in a unique location between the River Ebro and the Sierra Cantabria mountain range. The Sierra Cantabria mountain range (1,200 m altitude) and the river Ebro (350 m), create a special microclimate with Mediterranean and Continental characteristics - providing mild winters and gentle summers - unique for vine cultivation. On the other hand, the summer thermal jump (intense heat during the day with fresh night temperatures) creates an increase in the level of polyphenols, normally associated with excellent quality wines.
The calcareous clay soil is excellent for obtaining high quality wines and to enhance the expression of Tempranillo. Environmental integrated agriculture cultivation, applying a viticulture respectful with the environment, following the biorhythms of the plant and organic fertilization.
Grapes are traditionally destemmed and fermentation is temperature-controlled between 26 and 28ºC with indigenous yeast selected from their own vineyards. Extended maceration on the skins for 24 days, starting with two daily pump-overs and then a light pump-over daily during the last ten days.
Ageing: 14 months in barriques of French and American oak, almost all pre-used (but never for more than 3 uses).
See also the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.
Rioja Crianza, Sierra Cantabria 2016 - fiche technique
A smooth and elegant Crianza from this esteemed Rioja producer, which deftly balances fruit and oak. This is arguably Sierra Cantabria's most admired wine due to its incredible value and delicate but complex style. Ripe cherry and red fruit, hints of spice and smoke, and a dusting of cocoa combine to form an elegant, complex Rioja with layers of oak and fruit.
ABV = 14.0% (this figure does vary on bottles; we have also seen 13.5%).