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    José António García "Unculín" Bierzo '20


    José António García "Unculín" Bierzo '20

    In Bierzo, in northwestern Spain, the husband-and-wife team of Jose Antonio García and Julia Reña García have built their foundation from the ground up, literally with their own hands, and in doing so have created a source of renewal and rebirth for Bierzo. Moving away from internationally inspired styles, the Garcias have gotten back to the basics and are practicing organic farming. They both have familial roots in the area, and in winemaking and vineyard management, and they are experts of Bierzo. Their first vintage was in 2011, and they have taken on renovating historic vineyard sites. They’ve acquired 22 hectares of land so far, with a focus on preserving older vines native to the area, some up to 200 years old.

    “Unculín” is a Vino de Villa wine from over 80 different organically grown, family-owned small plots in the village of Valtuille de Abajo. At 500–650 meters in elevation, they are planted with 60-to-100-year-old traditional bush vines from native varieties. Crucial to the quality and complexity of JAG’s wines is the genetic heritage of their ancient vines, planted mostly before the industrialization of Spanish wine. 

    The 2020 “Unculín” is made of 85% Mencía and 15% Alicante Bouschet, Merenzao, Palomino, and Doña Blanca. Whole bunches are hand-picked, leaving stems on 30% of the bunches. The remaining 70% of the grapes are destemmed by hand and left intact, without crushing. A 48-hour maceration precedes a spontaneous alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeast. After fermentation the grapes are pressed with a 20-day post-fermentation maceration. All of this occurs in stainless steel tanks. After four months of aging on the fine lees and malolactic fermentation in stainless steel, the wine is briefly racked into foudres to give it some oxygen.

    The wine offers lovely aromas of red and purple flowers, plums, and a hint of pepper. The palate follows the nose with an abundance of dark fruits and savory herbs. Medium bodied, with balanced acidity and tannins, this is delicious on its own but would pair well with almost anything, especially a plate of jamón or braised leg of lamb. Give this wine a quick decanting after opening and you’ll fall in love with it.

    This is easily the best value Mencía produced in Spain! Don't miss it.




    Producer José António García


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    Chicago, IL 60610

    Sounds good!