Jose Gil is the village-specific Rioja wine project of husband-and-wife viticultural and winemaking team, Jose and Vicki Gil. The Jose Gil wines are our window into the north-central Riojan village San Vicente (with a bonus wine from Briones village)Visit the producer's site
This wine from Labastida is based on two parcels owned by a viticultor friend (Inigo Perea) and a third vineyard which Jose and Vicky rent. In total, there’s less than a hectare, just 4km away from San Vicente. It’s Tempranillo 90% with Garnacha and various field blend whites. The handling is the same as for the San Vicente wines; gently aged ten months in large wood in the historical San Vicente cave after concrete fermentation in the Briones facility.
Unmistakeably Jose Gil in style, but a little lighter in carriage, a slightly lower profile in the mouth than the San Vicente wines, but still rounded. Bluebells, cherry medicinal cola, astringent herbs, radish, peppermint and a touch of limestone funk. There’s very good movement and energy between fruit and tannin; the wine’s shaped like a horizontal disc in the mouth and fresh to finish.
North-east of town, on the cold slopes up towards the Sierra de Toloño, is Valle la Canoca, formed by little Rio la Canoca. Jose and Vicky have a parcel in the top stretch of this valley, above 600m, yielding red fruited, floral wines. The soil of la Canoca is silt with a high percentage of limestone, surrounded by aromatic herbs such as fennel, thyme, rosemary. It’s planted to Tempranillo with a small percentage of Viura. Harvested by hand, 100% destemmed. Aged 10 months in 500L French oak in the castle cellar. Limited production: Australian allocation 24 bottles.
Smells ‘wide’, and holds its secrets close. Deep, mysterious, the most red note of the parcela wines - plums and boysenberries, with a touch of pimentón and plenty of fennel in the mix. La Conoca has a wonderfully sophisticated palate with fruit, tannin, spice, fleshiness and earthen tones blending beautifully and resolving with a lovely, lilting sweet-sour ripple.
Paraje el Bardallo is North-west of San Vicente, well on the way to neighbouring village, Labastida, underneath the legendary Remelluri estate. It’s planted to dry-grown bush-vines en vaso, about 40 years old, at 515m, with northeast orientation and calcareous soil. Bardallo is home to delicate, vertical wines; the fruit here is blue note, fluid and quite spicy. Tempranillo with a small percentage of Viura. Harvested by hand, 100% destemmed. Fermented in concrete, aged 10 months in 500L French oak. Limited production: Australian allocation 24 bottles.
This parcel has the darkest fruits among the single vineyards and is the most primary and fruitful of them. Floral, densely meaty but fluid, plummy and round with lots of ripe skins, a touch of tobacco and a lash of medicinal wood bitters. Regally earthy in deep purple tones, it literally spangles with mineral detail, like a sequin dress. Within the tannins, you find both chalkiness and juiciness, performing a density-relief moebusstrip double act.
In between Canoca and Bardallo is Camino de Ribas (in the hamlet of Rivas de Tesoro). This is the coldest and freshest valley, as the gap north towards the Toloño allows ingress of strong north winds from the Atlantic. Jose and Vicky work here with two parcels. The western side is a hectare they planted in 2016. Here are young vines of red and white Garnacha and some Moscatel, in sandy loam, with iron and chalk over sandstone bedrock. They also take some kilos from Jose’s parents’ plot, a 20 metre walk east across the access track.
Here are 140yo bush vines of Garnacha and Tempranillo in pale sand at 610m surrounded by many scrubland grasses (lavender, thyme, rosemary…). The finished wine is 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha and some Viura and other whites. Harvested by hand, 100% destemmed. Aged 10 months in 500L French oak in the castle cellar. Limited production: Australian allocation 30 bottles.
Redolent of cold earth, blue fruits filled with sweet spices and scrubby balsamics - juniper with its bitter back note, cinchona bark, sweet, floral fennel, thyme. Pomegranate seeds, raspberry and compote fruits. Sandstone pebbles give a fine grit, the feeling of being down in the riverbed. La Concova flows out on a line, with gloriously sweet-spiced, chalk-flecked, nutty tannins. Fluidity from perfectly ripened seeds, laced with an astringent stretch from all the herbal-balsamic action.
This village wine is from a collection of vineyards in the highlands around San Vicente, at altitudes of 500m and above, from different sites and soils. Of San Vicente’s six valleys, all but la Rad figure. The composition is Tempranillo with 20% Garnacha and a little Viura. Manual harvest; destemmed; all the plots are made separately, then blended.
After fermentation in the concrete cubes in Briones, 40% of the village blend lingers in concrete, while the balance has ten months of gentle ageing is in old 500L barrels in the medieval cellar of San Vicente’s Castle Davalillo.The whole orchard on display: wood, flowers and fruits of cherry, apple, boysenberry, plum, blackberry. Cut to shape by hyssop, juniper, dry brown spices, orchard bark. Savoury-juicy, open, perfumed, round. Gravel and iron soil nuance the satin fruit-tannin sumptuousness. A wine of great harmony and balance, and as it lingers, fruitfulness is beautifully trimmed by tannin to the finish where spice, bitters and easy nutty acid join in the violets-in-earth gorgeousness.