2019 Fuentes del Silencio, Videos del James “Las Quintas” Castilla y Leon, Spain.
This was my first experience with the Fuentes del Silencio wines and I was thrilled with the quality and brilliance of these Mencia based wines, with this beautiful Las Quintas being an exceptional highlight that delivers outstanding detail, depth and poise, making for a joyous, medium bodied and complex wine. Sourced from ancient old vines in high plains of Herreros de Jamuz, a remote, almost unknown region of Spain in the Castilla y Leon area, this Las Quintas is made from 85% Mencia, 13% Alicante Bouschet and 2% of white grapes including Palomino (the Sherry grape) and the native Doña Blanca, all of which is similar to what you might find in Beizo region, but with a unique set of quartzite cobbles, clay and crushed slate sandy soils. This 2019 shows an inviting dark garnet and ruby color in the glass and has mineral and floral aromatics that leads to lively mouth filling flavors of vine picked berry, tart blueberry, plum and cherry fruits that are accented by stony and earthy notes with a hint of stems, spice, dried herbs and anise. There is a sense of purity and transparency here without any noticeable wood influence and the wine shows a nice lift of acidity, while still gaining richness as it opens, quite impressive stuff here and this Las Quintas is gracefully raw and balanced, which makes it best with a hearty meal.
I tasted this wine at a small importer tasting, by The Source Imports, and it was a sleeper in the lineup, but clearly a standout, it was a great way to discover this new producer, which is a small winery led by Dr. Miguel Angel Alonso and his wife Dr. Maria José Galera, both medical doctors, who have rejuvenated some long forgotten 80 to 150 year old vines. The Source Imports says the couple discovered abandoned vineyards with many vines that predate phylloxera, or at least has plots without any grafting to modern American rootstocks. They also put together a talented team to farm and make the Fuentes del Silencio (which translates to Sources of Silence) wines with vignerons Marta Ramas, Miguel Fisac and Alberto Aldonza in the vineyards, and José Villar, who manages the cellar. The Jamuz was a considerable wine producing area dating back to Roman times, but almost disappeared in the last hundred years, before Alonso and Galera came here and gave the place a new lease on life. This area with its high plains, arid setting and continental climate gives small yields and more concentration than you’d see in the Mencia wines of the Ribeira Sacra and again, more like Beirzo in style, with fans of Raul Perez seeing comparable characteristics in these Fuentes del Silencio offerings, which is high praise. This soulful and 100% organic wine was made with about 80% whole cluster and stem inclusion, all indigenous yeast fermentation occurring in conical wood vats and aging, 12 to 14 months, in old 500L French oak barrels. I highly recommend chasing down these very limited offerings and I will certainly will be following this label.
($36 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive