Bodegas Gordon

Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon
Bodegas Gordon

The Story

I first met José while on the wine trail with my wife, Andrea, and the well-known food and wine writer, and good friend, Jordan Mackay. Jordan was writing a book on steak and at the end of our tour through Italy, France and Galicia, on our way to the Madrid airport, he wanted to stop by José’s restaurant, El Capricho, located in the far western end of Castilla y León, at the foothills of Galicia’s portion of the Iberian Massif. While sitting in the lobby of our back country Spanish hotel with jamon hanging from the ceiling and the televisions blaring sports and the news on all sides of us, I began to ask Jordan about this restaurant that we were about to go to. He started telling what he knew of José’s story over a pregame beer in the hotel lobby and suddenly pointed at one of the televisions with a reporter and a guy in a chef coat next to some huge cattle. “That’s the guy. That’s José!”  

José has been a celebrity chef in Spain for a while. But once descended into the dark, orange-hued, dimly lit, and deeply shadowy clay cave of El Capricho and walk past table after table, catching unfamiliar words spoken by familiar accents from all corners of the globe you quickly realize that he is also world famous. Literally out in the middle of nowhere, meat foodies are drawn by legendary tales of steaks impossible to find elsewhere: extensively dry aged, old buey, not animals that are eighteen months or three years old fed on grain, but rather seven to fifteen years old and raised on the natural grasses and wild herbs of this desolate but visually stunning countryside whose lowest point is about 800m (2600ft) of altitude; buey raised and befriended by the guy in the chef coat wielding the pirate-sized blade and an ever present smile. As José stands over the table ready to cut and serve your steak, he looks at the meat and knows from which one of his old friends made the “sacrifice” for your meal. This is a different level of connectivity to food. And when you learn about José as a person, the value and the nuance of the food rises to another level.

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Lay of the Land

There’s so much to say about Jamuz. 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 José’s wines alongside of Fuentes del Silencio’s out of barrel in the same cellar 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 headfirst in the geology and soil. These elements are crucial in revealing only what appears to be the tip of this historic iceberg.

The Romans

The Romans brought the vine here, as they did to everywhere else in Spain. Between the 9th and 20th centuries, Jamuz was a considerable wine producing area, a kind of a one-stop shop for the Romans because the hillsides were perfect for vineyards, the riverbeds ideal for other agriculture requiring more fertile soils, and the hills were filled with gold.

The majority of the vineyards that exist today were planted at the end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th and were maintained until the 1960s. Of them, many are lost, but some were maintained until twenty years ago, more or less. Now very few families are still maintaining their vineyards. We have recovered mainly vineyards abandoned twenty to thirty years ago and some as far back as the 1960s. Many parcels are dead or were retaken by the forest.

The ancient vines of Jamuz look like stout, squat animals with dense fur coats, half buried underground, with vine shoots growing in random directions out of their backs; unlike anything I’ve seen. They’re inside what is called an olla (pot), which is a hole about 60 cm in diameter and 30 cm deep to protect the vine from frost and cold. And while so close to the ground, the soil retains heat and keeps the grapes ripening as winter approaches; harvest usually happens in the two middle weeks of October.

During the recovery process of the ancient vines, a gentle rehab approach is critical. While many of the centenarian vines seemed dead, careful work can get these time capsules to produce again. Miguel and his team had to carefully dig in and recreate the ollas and unbury the vines, and any wrong move with their tools could’ve quickly ended any chance of recovery. This process is extremely tedious, time consuming and expensive, and the gravitation toward organic farming was the clear choice. With all the nature having crept back inside the vineyards, especially those closest to forests, it would’ve seemed wrong to disturb this unique setting with unnatural things.
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Bodegas Gordon

Bodegas Gordon - 2018 El Chano

Price: $45.00
Size: 750ml
Availability: 

24+ in stock

Type of Wine: Red
Grape(s): Mencía 85%, Alicante Bouschet 13%, Palomino, Doña Blanca 2%
Style: Rich, Elegant and Aromatic

Las Quintas is a blend of 85% Mencía, 13% Alicante Bouschet and 2% Palomino. The vineyard soils are composed primarily of sand and silt. With the influence of Mount Teleno, this vineyard area within the Jamuz Valley has the largest diurnal change between night and day. The soil, icy nighttime temperatures, high acidity and 100% stem inclusion during its forty-five day fermentation renders a bright, tense wine that gushes with wild red fruit, compelling textures and loads of charm and pleasure. This is the most sensual wine in the range from the moment the cork is pulled and, like Las Jaras, it doesn’t let up for hours into the next day.