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Old-vine Garnacha (Grenache) from the mountains west of Madrid is a thing you need to know about. Within the Grenache universe, there are precious few producers (we’re looking at you, Château Rayas) who manage to tease out the more finessed, cherry-fruited, “Pinot Noir-ish” side of the variety, but count Viñedos del Jorco among them. We’ve already seen what the granitic hillsides of the Sierra de Gredos range can do thanks to the runaway success of another producer in the region, Comando G Viticultores, and with “El Jorco,” we get even more specific in terms of terroir: The “Cebreros” PDO (Denomination of Origin) was codified in 2019, making it the first official “subzone” of Sierra de Gredos—even though winegrowing here dates to the 13th century.
Located west of Madrid in the Sierra de Gredos Mountains, the Cebreros growing zone spreads through 36 small towns at altitudes that often exceed 1,000 meters. This wine comes from a 2.5-hectare plot of bush-trained vines that dates to 1915. The gnarly old plants are rooted in sandy decomposed granite and benefit from wide day-night temperature swings which help preserve acidity in the grapes.
This bottling, from 100% old-vine Garnacha from 100+-year-old vines, was fermented on native yeasts in a combination of open-topped wooden vats and clay amphorae. Some whole grape clusters were included to help lend grip and moderate the alcohol content, and, following fermentation, the wine was aged in large, used oak casks before bottling. It’s a lively, brightly fruited, lighter-hued take on the Garnacha (Grenache) grape, with aromas and flavors of red and black cherry, wild strawberry, cassis, wild herbs, white pepper, a hint of blood orange. The barley-there tannins and juicy fruit make for a silken mouthfeel, but there’s enough acidity to keep the wine lifted (rather than syrupy) on the palate. A brightly aromatic red well-suited to garlicky grilled lamb chops or sausages.
Heard It Through The Grapevine
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