Jose Antonio Garcia Bierzo Unculin Tinto 2018
Grapes are hand-picked, leaving stems on 30% of the bunches. Unculín
undergoes a spontaneous fermentation by natural, indigenous yeast in large, neutral, French foudres with a 30-day maceration post-fermentation. Four months of aging on the fine-lees and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel without topping up. Bottled
unfined and unfiltered with minimal intervention.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Husband and wife team Jose Antonio and Julia Peña García are at the forefront of the next-generation of vignerons in Bierzo, leading the change towards wines of place and definition. Their familial roots in Bierzo are fundamental to them, as they do all of the work in the vineyards themselves. Jose’s mother is a native of Valtuille de Abajo, and his father is a native of Corullón. Together, Jose and Julia’s families have owned vineyards in Bierzo for generations, providing wines that would become the backbone of other famous blends. In the spirit of elevating their family holdings and with an inexhaustible work ethic, Jose and Julia set out recuperating historic vineyards by hand, recovering them one by one from the stranglehold of wild ivy. A monumental work, considering the 22ha they own and the fact that they are doing all of the work themselves. In the same way, working out of a tiny, crumbling building hundreds of years old in Valtuille de Abajo, Jose and Julia have brought the structure back to life by hand, stone by stone, building new walls and a new future from the rubble of previous generations. All work is done with minimal intervention and with the intention of focusing the development of the differentiation of the terroirs in Valtuille. They own 22 hectares old vines which sit between 500 to 800+ meters elevation. The different parcels that José Antonio works with are divided into stylistically distinct wines.
One of the few northwestern Spanish regions with a focus on a red variety, Bierzo, part of Castilla y León, is home to the flowery and fruity Mencia grape. Mencia produces balanced and bright red wines full of strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, baking spice, pepper and black licorice. The well-drained soils of Bierzo are slate and granite.
Primarily found in the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras regions of Spain and in the Dão of Portugal (where it is called Jaen), Mencia is an early ripening, low acid grape that can produce wines of great concentration, complexity and ageability. And yet Mencia once suffered from a poor reputation and deemed capable of producing simple and light red wines. Post-phylloxera growers would grow this variety on low, fertile plains, which produced high yields and uncomplicated finished wines. Somm Secret—The recent rediscovery of the ancient, abandoned vines planted on rugged hillsides of deep schist has unveiled the potential of Mencia and added discredit to its old reputation.