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Rioja & Ribera del Duero


Spain is (and has been for some time now) one of the most exciting European wine-producing countries. New producers are exploiting old vineyards with a single-minded focus on expressing as much of a sense of place as possible via the medium of the grape. Not wedded to – or mired in – tradition, they look outwards into the wider world, taking cues from regions and wine makers they admire.

Jose Gil

Perhaps the finest example of this phenomenon is Jose Gil, a young man described by Luis Gutierrez on as “…one of the leading young producers in Rioja and the whole of Spain”, and by Tim Atkin MW as “one of the region’s best young talents”.

Jose was in Burgundy for a couple of years and he succeeds in his efforts to attain Burgundian levels of elegance in his wines. The wine below is, quite simply, an utterly ravishing example of the new rioja.

2021 Rioja San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Jose Gil
£144 in bond per 6    Drink 2024-2031
You can sense Jose's time in Burgundy in the elegance of this dark-fruited, berry-ish beauty. It's precise and extremely charming; complex already, it will only gain more nuance with bottle age. See my video note for more.Caspar Bowes

You might also like to try another of his wines:

2021 Rioja Labastida, Jose Gil
£144 in bond per 6    Drink 2024-2031
"Two plots of 45 and 80 years old combine to produce this village blend of Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha and a little Viura and Calagraño, all from Labastida...this has chalky freshness and intensity, sappy bramble and black cherry fruit and layered tannins. 93/100.Tim Atkin MW

Jose Gil Vineyards in Rioja
Jose Gil exploits small - occasionally miniscule - parcels of old vines


And then we have the mighty Aalto. You will have seen this name in Bowes Wine offers past and you will have heard the name Mariano Garcia. Born at Vega Sicilia, Mariano went on to become technical director of that venerable winery, making thirty vintages there in all.

And it was whilst at Vega Sicilia that Mariano built the Aalto winery, a James Bond villain-style futuristic lair back up in the Ribera del Duero hills.

The wine that emanates from this winery is rapidly becoming a Spanish classic: a Ribera del Duero of enormous class and polish.

2020 Aalto, Bodegas Aalto
£180 in bond per 6     Drink 2025-2032
A dark, well contained nose of pure plum fruits with a hint of cassis, overlaid with a cocoa powder oak. In the mouth, the instant impression is one of creaminess, of a wine both dense and rich. It is also dark, and smoky with its wood. The mineral structure emerges at the back where the fruit imparts a flavour of chestnuts. This grips very long and minerally. A beautifully fresh example. Delicious!Caspar Bowes

NB. If you fancy a mini vertical... We still have some stock available of the 2019 vintage:

2019 Aalto, Bodegas Aalto
£168 in bond per 6     Drink 2024-2034

Aalto Winery in Ribera del Duerohe Aalto Winery looking like you might find Blofeld and a long-haired white cat inside

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