Exploring a wine region can easily lead you straight down various rabbit holes along the way. With so many variables to consider: soil types, vineyard exposition, and winemaking techniques to name just a few, it can be quite difficult to grasp an understanding of a region, let alone to develop an opinion about your favorite styles or producers within it. The current releases from Jose Antonio García (JAG) accomplish this monumental task of capturing the essence of both Bierzo and Mencía through a single lineup that we are excited to share with you in this educational (and tasty) 3 pack offering.
Jose Antonio and his wife Julia represent the new generation of winemakers that are both shaping and defining the modern terroir-driven wines of Bierzo. Located in the Castilla Y Leon wine region of Spain, the Bierzo is a unique, mineral-rich mountainous terrain that beautifully captures the many shades of Mencía. Each of these wines brilliantly showcases not only the 100+ year old average vines that they're working with, but also the diversity of soil types found within this complex terroir. These bottles are extremely limited and today's 3 pack offering provides an excellent opportunity at discovering these truly captivating wines from a winery destined to become the benchmark for the region.
2020 Jose Antonio García 'Cuvée Julia' Vinificación Singular
Cuvée Julia comes from a single parcel of 60-100 year old vines located on an east-facing slope in the heart of Valtuille de Abajo, where the upper part is sandy, the middle is slate, and the lower part is clay with decomposed organic matter. As is the tradition in the Bierzo, the destemmed grapes are co-fermented and comprised of 85% Mencía with the remaining 15% a blend of Godello, Doña Blanca, Palomino, Malvasia, Alicante Bouschet and Merenzao. Spontaneous carbonic fermentation and 11 month aging occurs in 500L French barrels.
Impressions: This is a soif style wine that is released early and meant to highlight Mencía's fruity and playful side. Highly aromatic with bright red fruits and hints of floral notes with an elegant silky texture and crisp finish. Meant to be consummed young, this cuvée is reminiscent of fine Cru Beaujolais. Best served with a slight chill.
2019 Jose Antonio García 'Valtuille de Abajo' Vino de Villa
Bierzo has adopted a new quality-based classification system for its wines, similar to the Burgundian structure of regional, village, and single-vineyard wines. In the Vino de Villa classification system, 100% of the grapes must come from vineyards within the village of Valtuille, and yields are more than 20% below the limit for D.O. Bierzo. This estate's flagship wine is sourced from 88-108 year old low-yielding vines in the village of Valtuille de Abajo, that sit over mixed alluvial and clay soils. The grapes are also co-fermented and comprised of 85% Mencía with the remaining 15% a blend of Doña Blanca, Palomino, and Godello. Spontaneous 65% whole cluster fermentation in foudre without temperature control, aged for 11 months in both old and new French oak of 300L and 500L barrels.
Impressions: While this too is a highly aromatic wine, the fruity red notes are now competing with earthy tones of wet rocks, green peppercorns, maitake mushrooms and hints of dried herbs. The palate is lush, silky and concentrated with a chalky tannic bite that finishes savory and peppery with exit notes of damp leaves and hints of cinder.
2019 Jose Antonio García 'Corullón' Vino de Villa
Also under the Vino de Villa classification system, the vines sourced from the slopes of Corullón average between 75-105 years of age. Here, we see a more brooding and deeper character from these vines that sit over slate, quartzite, and limestone soils. The grapes are also co-fermented and comprised of 85% Mencía with the remaining 15% a blend of Doña Blanca, Palomino, and Godello. Spontaneous partially destemmed fermentation occurs in large open top foudre without temperature control, aged for 11 months in both old and new French oak of 300L and 500L barrels.
Impressions: Here we have the most structured and mineral driven example. While the aromatics are a bit more restrained, they continue to entice with notes of eucalyptus, cherry blossoms, citrus peel, iron and black peppercorns complementing red notes of strawberries and pomegranates. The juicy palate displays a gorgeous weightless concentration that leads to a finer grained tannin presence. A complex smoky, spicy and peppery finish is already displaying great length and alludes to great improvement with long term cellaring. Decanting time of at least 1 hour is recommended.