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.

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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.

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Fuentes del Silencio - 2017 Las Jaras

Price: $28.00
Size: 750ml
Availability: 

24+ in stock

Type of Wine: Red
Grape(s): Mencía 60%, Prieto picudo 30 % Alicante Bouschet 10%
Style: Medium Body, Elegant and Aromatic

The Wine

Fuentes del Silencio's Las Jaras is a bombshell for the price. Located in northwestern Spain, at the eastern foothills of the Galician mountains, this blend made from 80 to 150-year-old Prieto Picudo, Mencía and Alicante Bouschet vines makes for a wine of unusual depth, concentration and surprising freshness. At an altitude of more than 2,600 feet, the growing season is long and results in a wine of wonderful tension, texture and freshness. Once the cork is pulled, the wine immediately begins its vertical climb and builds from one strength to the next, day after day. It seems that this wine can easily last for a week after being opened and still deliver freshness and bright fruit. Those who have tasted this wine are always dumbfounded by its level of depth for the price.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: The high lands of quartzite and slate derived soils are the result of the erosion of Monte Teleno, toward the west and inside the Galician Massif. These alluvial deposits of the Villafrankian age are known as Rañas. The topsoil has good permeability and clay deposits found deep in the ground encourage the formation of superficial aquifers, many of which produce natural springs (fuentes) throughout the area.

Ribera Del Jamuz has a dry continental climate with average annual temperatures below 11 ºC. The area sees significant shifts between daytime and nighttime temperature and receives little rainfall. Average precipitation is less than 580 mm per year, far below that other nearby wine regions toward the north, northwest and west. The area is marked by long cold winters with intense frost and very dry hot summers. Protected by the Teleno Mountain, which rise up 2188 metres, it has some of the highest sun exposure in Spain.

Vinification: The 60% whole cluster, spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation is made in 50-hectoliter vertical wooden tronconic tanks. The first sulfite addition is made at crush (20ppm, or 20mg/l), and the second after malolactic fermentation (20ppm). Infusion style maceration and fermentation that lasts from 21 to 40 days, depending on the plot. Before alcoholic fermentation begins, the grapes are crushed by foot (usually by the women in the winery because they do it more delicately). The malolactic fermentation is done in the same wooden tank (to keep the microbiology of each plot together), and usually finishes this process in December and sometimes in spring.

Aging: 10 months in 50-hectoliter vertical wooden tronconic tanks. The wine is not fined by has a light filtration before bottling.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Bright, Savory Red Fruits, Wild Rose, High Energy, Fresh, Bright, Playful but Serious

Mineral Impressions:

Lightly SaltySaltyMetalMineralWet StoneFlintGraphiteReductivePetrol

Ageability:

Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:

NatureModerateNurture

Intensity:

SubtleVigorousElectric

Core:

LitheMediumDense

Acidity:

LightMediumFullElectric

Texture:

LitheMediumDense

Body:

LightMediumFull

Tannin:

NoneLightMediumFull

Finish:

FrontMiddleBack

Wood Presence:

NoneSubtleNoticeable

The Vineyard

Soil:

Quartzite cobbles in iron-rich, red clay soil

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

Planted earlier than 1940 (no sure record of plantation date)

Altitude (meters):

820

Aspect:

Exposed on all sides

Slope:

Flat
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfites (total ranges between 30-50mg/l)

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

13.5-14.0

pH:

3.40-3.60

Titratable Acidity:

5.2-6.3

Residual Sugar:

Dry

Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Marta Ramos (Fuentes del Silencio)

About The Wine

Fuentes del Silencio’s Las Jaras is a bombshell for the price. Located in northwestern Spain, at the eastern foothills of the Galician mountains, this blend made from 80 to 150-year-old Prieto Picudo, Mencía and Alicante Bouschet vines makes for a wine of unusual depth, concentration and surprising freshness. At an altitude of more than 2,600 feet, the growing season is long and results in a wine of wonderful tension, texture and freshness. Once the cork is pulled, the wine immediately begins its vertical climb and builds from one strength to the next, day after day. It seems that this wine can easily last for a week after being opened and still deliver freshness and bright fruit. Those who have tasted this wine are always dumbfounded by its level of depth for the price.