2021 Fuentes del Silencio, Las Jaras, Castilla y Leon, Spain.
The beautifully perfumed deep purple/garnet Fuentes del Silencio Las Jaras delivers an impressive performance in the glass, it is mostly a blend of old vine Mencia along with Alicante Bouschet and Prieto Picudo, of which are also used in the two top wines at this unique estate in Spain’s Castilla y Leon region and near the almost forgotten area of Jamuz, that was originally popular in Roman times, but had lost out in years after WWII and is making a remarkable comeback now. As mentioned in prior reviews, this winery is making some awesome wines and this one, for the price especially, is outrageously good with amazing concentration, natural acidity and a brilliant tension between juicy fruit density and savory tones, it shows off loads of personality with a blackberry, currant, cranberry and damson plum fruited core, along with zesty spices, cinnamon, peppercorns, star anise and clove, as well as delicate earthy loam, chalky stones, minerallity and a touch of saline or iodine. It’s hard to think of this Las Jaras as their entry level wine, such is the complexity and full joyous nature that comes through, let’s just say the gap to the more expensive bottlings here is tiny, though distinct. The high plains of Herreros de Jamuz, might be consider the undiscovered treasure like the Biers was 20 odd years ago and similar in character, with Mencia taking center stage and leading the way here with many plots well over 100 years old. Interesting, with an average of 2805 feet above sea level, this Jamuz area is likely the highest vineyards where Mencia is grown in all of Spain, making for an extreme terroir with an alpine like cool climate, slate driven soils and long grape hang time. The first wine from Fuentes del Silencio I tried and reviewed was the 2019 Las Quintas, which was a little more mature and generously vinous, capturing my attention, but this wine at just 25 dollars, is a must have!
The Fuentes del Silencio winery, located in northwestern Spain, part of greater Castilla y Leon region, almost a catch all from Galicia to almost Madrid, and set n the high eastern foothills of the Galician mountains, this is a label to watch for Spanish wine fans. The Las Jaras is a blend made from ungrafted mostly ancient and recently resurrected organic 80 to 150-year-old Prieto Picudo, Mencía and Alicante Bouschet vines, with typically a breakdown of about 60% Mencía, 30% Prieto Picudo, a super rare indigenous varietal and 10% Alicante Bouschet, also known as Garnacha Tintorera. The Mencia stars here, giving a dark floral dimension, richness on the medium bodied palate and still having vitality and brisk acidity, while the Prieto Picudo provides almost Nebbiolo like sense of grippy tannin and the Alicante Bouschet helps with fleshy juicy notes, spice and inky color. The grapes are harvested together and get an old school foot stomping with mostly full bunches and just over half stems included for this wine.The winery info notes that the Las Jaras saw about 60% whole cluster, spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation and was made in 50-hectoliter vertical wooden tronconic tanks with an infusion style maceration, to extract color and fruit without too much tannin, lasting from 21 to 40 days. After primary fermentation the wine goes through natural malos and ages 10 months in the same 50-hectoliter vertical wooden tronconic tanks, which are definitely neutral and offer no new oak influence at all, making for a wine of exceptional purity and rustic charm. The Jamuz area has complex soils here which has quartzite and the mentioned slate, adding to the mineral personality of the wines, plus ancient stony alluvial deposits of the Villafrankian age, known locally as Rañas, along with some clay which hold moisture in this arid landscape. I’m becoming a huge fan of these Fuentes del Silencio wines, with their Las Quintas single parcel wine being the first one, as mentioned, to draw me in, and especially this one, which is inline with my beloved Ribeira Sacra (Mencia) bottlings by Laura Lorenzo at Daterra Viticultores and or Pedro Rodriguez’s Guimaro, I could drink this almost every week!
($25 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive