Fuentes del Silencio

The Story

Fuentes del Silencio is a project of Indiana Jones-level excitement in the way of lost and nearly forgotten wine cultures. Dr. Miguel Angel Alonso and his wife Dr. Maria José Galera, both medical doctors, found themselves back in Miguel’s homeland, in the high plains of Herreros de Jamuz, literally unearthing one of the rarities of the wine world: ancient, abandoned vineyards with many vines that predate phylloxera, or at least survived it without the grafting of American rootstocks.

What began as a tiny vineyard planted next to Miguel’s house turned into full-blown, honest obsession for the recovery of a national treasure. And to avoid the misconception of being another one of the world’s vanity projects from the affluent that made their fortune in other ways, like those of retired doctors, adopted the moniker Fuentes del Silencio, forgoing any mention of their names on the front label. It translates to “Sources of Silence,” fitting for this quiet place in the middle of nowhere full of natural water sources. Miguel is in this for the noblest of reasons: for the resurrection of his homeland’s ancient wine culture and because winegrowing was a family affair over a hundred years ago.

Read more

Lay of the Land

There’s so much to say about Jamuz, and given that there is almost no information out there other than on Fuentes del Silencio’s website, I am compelled to provide a slightly exhaustive account. The story is complex and once through this essay, the magnificence of this region’s potential will be laid bare, as it was for me the first time I tasted Fuentes del Silencio’s wines out of barrel and visited their vineyards. First, we’ll start with the grapes, and then we’ll dip our entire foot into the landscape and finally, dive head first in the geology and soil. These elements are crucial in revealing only what appears to be the tip of this historic iceberg.

The principal grape in the region is Mencia, a variety known to grow well in Bierzo to the northwest, and Galicia’s Ribera Sacra, Monterrei and Valdeorras. Between them, Jamuz may have the longest growing season and on the average likely the highest level of natural acidity, a quality this variety is not known for. Many believe Mencia to be the great red grape of Galicia, but we will see what the coming decades of climate change bring. Other reds also show great potential in Galicia, but in Jamuz this is the natural fit. Here they render wines with a stronger balance of pleasure alongside the intellect that this grape can transmit from the more stony and visually impressive terroirs further into the Galician Massif.

Read more