Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Excellent Spanish Red

Enough with the preliminaries, on to the wines. Jorge Ordonez brings in some fantastic wines from Spain and I have been lucky enough to have his portfolio to sell in New Orleans and now here in Portland, Oregon as well. Some of the wines are a bit too flashy and international in style for me, but most of the wines he brings to the U.S. are nothing short of magical for the price. You will see his name again and again in these posts.
Recently I opened a bottle of Juan Gil, from Bodegas de Hijos de Juan Gil. Essentially that means winery of the sons of Juan Gil. The wine is 100% Monastrell (Mourvedre) and comes from 40 year old vines (even older to my recollection although the back of the bottle says 40, so we'll go with that) in the D.O. (Denominacion de Origen - Spanish designation for appellation) of Jumilla.
I have always liked this wine. The 2004 was elegant yet very full in the mouth with lots of red fruit and plenty of minerality on the finish, while the 2005 was more showy, with deeper color and darker fruit. This vintage seems to combine the two versions. Plenty of deep juicy fruit but with some red accents and although it took a day for the wine to shows its best, there is magic in that 2006 bottle. The use of oak is noticeable, but moderate, there is no drying wood tannin on the finish.
The vineyard is planted in chalky, white limestone 'soil' that is quite bright and intense in the sun and can even make it appear to have snowed recently. They get little rain (none was recorded in 2005) and that forces the vines to dig deep through different sedimentary layers, which increases the complexity of the wine. The limestone gives minerality, which is hard to describe, but makes a distinct impression on the palate, dry, but not tough, lively, but not zippy.
I think this wine will do well with anything off the grill, and will pair exceptionally well with lamb, red sauces, and even pork or chicken with black olives. It could certainly stand up to a steak, but would lose some of its subtlety paired this way. Mushrooms, especially portobellos grilled, are a beautiful match.
You should be able to find this wine for just over $15 and I would recommend buying a few bottles, at least, and laying some down for a year or so.

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