The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2016

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Page 46 of 132

46  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2016 SPAIN E stablished in 1916 by Juan Gil Jiménez in the now up-and- coming Jumilla appellation of Spain, passed down for four generations and celebrating its 100th birthday this year, Gil Family Estates is one of Spain's most dynamic wine producers. Under the leadership of brothers Angel and Miguel Gil, this pro- ducer specializes in old-vine indigenous grape growing matched with state-of-the-art winemaking. Now boasting nine bodegas located across eight appellations, Gil Family Estates produces terroir-driven wines that present a triple threat: originality, consistency and value. The portfolio includes the flagship Juan Gil wines and the luxury El Nido and Clio labels from Jumilla; Ateca from D.O. Calatayud; Atalaya from the little-known D.O. Almansa ; BlueGray from Priorat and Can Blau from Montsant, both in Catalunya; Lagar da Condesa from D.O. Rías Baixas; Shaya from D.O. Rueda; and Tridente from Castilla y León. In addition, brands Honoro Vera and Shania (which comes in a 3L bag-in-box) offer superb value. In particular, the Gil family is passionate about Jumilla's historic Monastrell vines (aka Mourvèdre) for their suitability to the dry climate, yielding what Manuel Gil calls "grapes of extraordinary concentration." He continues, "The wines are very expressive, with a huge, fruited character, a lot of color, aromas of red and blue fruits, very powerful with a floral hint both in the nose and mouth which gives our Monastrell wines a marked personality very different from the ones obtained with the same variety in France or from any other wine region of the world." Recently, The Tasting Panel's Wine Editor, Jessie Birschbach, and I conducted a tasting of Gil Family Estates wines at The Bazaar, the Los Angeles restaurant of Chef José Andrés, located in the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills, with Lead Sommelier Rachel Macalisang and Sommelier Albert Letizia. The wines, many of which are made by Australian winemakers recruited by the Gil family for their experience in extracting full flavors, showed impressive color, lovely aromas, lush mouthfeel and intense fruit. Here a just a few highlights—we'll leave you to discover the others! Spanish Succession WIITH 100 YEARS OF WINEGROWING EXPERIENCE, GIL FAMILY ESTATES CHAMPIONS INDIGENOUS VARIETIES AND OLD VINES by David Gadd Bodegas Shaya 2014 Rueda (SRP $16) Verdejo "Dried peach/stonefruit character; pithy minerality; finished perfectly dry." —J.B. Bodegas Juan Gil 2013 Silver Label, Jumilla (SRP $17) Monstrell "Bright; briar, red raspberry, clove; nice vibrancy, buoyancy." —A.L. Bodegas Atalaya 2013 Alaya Tierra Old Vines, Almansa (SRP $45) Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) "Huge wine—wow! Dark, rich red fruit; clove for days." —A.L. Bodegas Atteca 2011 Garnacha, Armas Old Vines, Calatayud (SRP $45) Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Monastrell "Incisive character; rich and mouthfill- ing." —D.G. Bodegas Tridente 2013 Tempranillo, Castilla y León (SRP $17) Tempranillo "Violets, just-ripe raspberries; just barely medium-bodied." —J.B. Cellers Can Blau 2011 Mas de Can Blau, Montsant (SRP $45) Cariñena- Mazuelo, Syrah and Garnacha "Garnet color; spicy, exotic spices; cas- sis, black currant. Great wine!"—R.M. BlueGray 2013 Priorat (SRP $20) 45% Garnacha, 30% Cariñena, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon "Black fruit with herbal and mint/ menthol notes. A beautiful expression of the minerality of Priorat." —R.M. Bodegas El Nido 2013 Clio, Jumilla (SRP $45) 70% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon "Gorgeous and super-extracted, with sumptous flavors." —D.G. Bodegas El Nido 2013 El Nido, Jumilla (SRP $135) 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Monastrell "Opaque and raisinated. A big style with profound depth—very velvety and plush." —R.M. PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL FAMILY ESTATES Old-vine Monastrell at Bodegas Juan Gil in Jumilla.

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