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Bodegas A. Fernández/El Vínculo

El Vínculo Tinto Crianza 2003

Price: $30.00 (average US retail)
Size: 750ml
Winery: Bodegas A. Fernández/El Vínculo
Vintage Year: 2003
Country: Spain
Region: Castilla - La Mancha
Appellation: D.O. La Mancha


One hundred percent Tempranillo (Cencibel) from old bush-pruned vines, malolactic fermentation and 15 months aging in American oak barriques. Everything one has come to expect from Alejandro - and more! 2003 is in full blossom from an extravagantly ripe vintage, sweet tannins framing intense red berry fruit on the nose and finish.

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2009) - "Opaque ruby. Smoky, oak-accented dark berry and cherry aromas are brightened by a peppery nuance and a hint of clove. Sappy, sweet and expansive, offering intense cherry-vanilla and blackberry preserve flavors and a touch of mocha. Supple tannins give shape to the finish, where the spice and cherry notes echo strongly. This wine was raised entirely in American oak; I'll bet on it being even better after the lumber has had time to mesh with the fruit."

90(+?) Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2013

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2006) - "The purple-colored 2006 El Vinculo Tinto Crianza went through malolactic fermentation in mostly new American oak where it remained for 18 months. It offers up an aromatic array of earthy minerality, underbrush, espresso, licorice, and assorted black fruits. Nicely proportioned on the palate with layered rich fruit, excellent concentration and volume, and a lengthy, fruit-filled finish, this potentially complex effort will benefit from another 2-3 years of cellaring and provide prime drinking from 2013 to 2018+."

92 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Jul 1, 2011

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2006) - "Full ruby. Aromas of dark fruits, pipe tobacco, spicecake and woodsmoke are lifted by a floral nuance. Sweet, spicy and focused, with good energy to its blackberry and and licorice flavors. Finishes smoky, spicy and long, with youthful tannins and lingering sweetness. This has the structure to age nicely over the medium term."

90 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sep 1, 2011

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2005) - "Dark ruby. Wild, pungent dark berry and raw meat aromas are complemented by violet and tobacco. Smells vaguely rude, but on the palate this is all sweet berry fruit, with the supple blackberry and cassis flavors firmed by chewy tannins and picking up musky herbal and dried floral qualities with air. Finishes sweet, with firm, slightly bitter cherry and blackcurrant skin flavors and very good persistence."

91 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2008

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2005) - "These wines are all 100% Tempranillo. The 2005 El Vinculo Crianza offers a fragrant nose of cedar, saddle leather, and black fruits. This is followed by a full-bodied, structured wine with good balance, depth, and length. It should evolve for another 3-4 years and drink well through 2020. These wines demonstrate the potential of La Mancha, a large region known in the past primarily for bulk wines, but now increasingly the focus of top vignerons such as Alejandro Fernandez of Pesquera fame."

90 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Apr 29, 2008

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2004) - "Fat and meaty; earthy and bright with sweet vanilla and ripe plum and blackberry fruit; rich and balanced."

91 Points
Anthony Dias Blue, Tasting Panel, Jul 2, 2010

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2004) - "From a superior vintage, is purple-colored. It offers a more expressive nose and riper, sweeter fruit on the palate. The wine has excellent balance and length. Drink it over the next 5-7 years."

90 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 1, 2007

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2003) - "Made from 100% Tempranillo as are all Alejandro Fernandez's wines, is dark ruby-colored. It exhibits aromas of cedar, tobacco, damp earth, red currants and blackberry. Firm on the palate, the wine has ample ripe fruit in a chunky style. The finish is slightly compact."

87 Points
Jay Miller, Wine Advocate, Feb 1, 2007

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2003) - "Ruby-red. Ripe cherry and blackberry aromas, with a good dose of toasty, vanillin oak. Rich and weighty, showing a distinctly ripe character and strong, almost sweet oak tones atop flavors of cherry and dark berry liqueur. Finishes on a note of bitter chocolate. This needs to be paired with rich, fatty food."

87 Points
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2006

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2002) - "Big and powerful warm-country wine with a gutsy nose of crushed ripe berries and violets plus flavors of strawberry compote, licorice, dark chocolate, coffee, and new oak. [Drink with] roast chicken with potatoes, roast meats, pasta, or pizza."

Gold Star, drink now
Gerry Dawes, Santé, Annual Buying Guide, 2006, Oct 1, 2005

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2002) - "This dark-colored wine is brimming with dark flavors - earth, mineral, plum, coffee - that mingle effortlessly in a racy texture. The fine tannins and smoky oak are well-integrated, and the wine dances to a long, smoky finish."

89 Points
Thomas Matthews, Wine Spectator, Aug 31, 2005

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2002) - "Red-ruby. Aromas of chocolate, cherry and cocoa powder; showed a rather advanced note of nutskin as it opened in the glass. Suave and perfumed in the mouth, with slightly dry-edged raspberry, cocoa and nutty oak flavors. Finishes with fine tannins that reach the front teeth, with the note of nutskin carrying through on the end."

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2004

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2001) - "Red-ruby. Red fruit, gunflint and cocoa powder aromas. Juicy and penetrating, with nicely defined flavors of raspberry, minerals and smoke. Finishes long and firmly tannic, with the structure to last well in bottle."

91 Points
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Oct 1, 2004

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2001) - "Black and robust, this speaks of the heat of La Mancha, playing off big black cherry fruit against enough acidity to hold it firm and fresh. The tannins clamp down at the end right now, so give it a year in the bottle or an hour or two in a decanter. "

89 Points
Ray Isle, Wine and Spirits, Dec 1, 2004

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2001) - "This is so delicious with dark berry and herb flavors that it's hard to believe El Vinculo make a Reserva, too. "

*** - Excellent
Jamal A. Rayyis, Food & Wine Magazine’s Wine Guide 2005, Oct 1, 2004

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Overview: In 1999, the discovery of old, head-pruned Tempranillo (Cencibel) vineyards amidst a sea of white (Airén) grapes convinced Alejandro Fernández, of famed Tinto Pesquera and Condado de Haza in Ribera del Duero, to undertake one last bodega, in the historic windmill village of Campo de Criptana. Contracting with selected growers for low yields and early, select harvesting, unprecedented balance and structure for the region has been achieved.

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History: With the 1998 purchase of La Granja Valdeguareña in Zamora Alejandro found it necessary to reestablish legal planting rights for this once-proud wine estate, which had been converted to fighting bulls one hundred years prior. European Common Market law allows for transfer of such rights from over planted areas, such as La Mancha. Time spent among the old vineyards of Campo de Criptana in Ciudad Real province convinced Alejandro that the potential for quality there was immense, so long as the scarce, old-vine Tempranillo could be isolated from predominating white varieties, yield and selection being carefully controlled.

From his earliest childhood, Alejandro Fernández recalls accompanying his family and friends to the cotarro (hillside) above Pesquera de Duero to gather in the medieval subterranean bodega of his father for merienda (evening snack), enlivened by plenty of wine, food and song. There Alejandro learned to make wine, and a lifestyle resonant of the ages was passed to a new generation. This convivial gathering place, affectionately called el vínculo (the union, or linkage) recalls the early roots of Alejandro's winemaking career.

In early 1999 Alejandro purchased an abandoned winemaking facility by the train station in Campo de Criptana, last used during World War II for the production of alcohol. He immediately undertook a total renovation and installation of modern winemaking facilities for the production of limited quantities of concentrated, oak aged red wine. The first vintage, 1999, underwent malolactic fermentation and aging 16 months in oak followed by six months in bottle prior to its scheduled domestic market début in December 2001. Aptly christened El Vínculo, this wine closes a circle of Tempranillo-producing Fernández properties.

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El Vínculo Tinto Crianza (2001)

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