Jose Antonio García

Godello de Valtuille Viñas Viejas Bierzo 2020

Jose Antonio García Godello de Valtuille Viñas Viejas Bierzo 2020

Jose Antonio García and his wife Julia Peña García (JAG) are at the forefront of the next generation of vignerons in Bierzo, leading the charge towards wines of place and definition. Their familial roots in Bierzo are fundamental to them, as they farm all of their own vineyards and do not buy grapes, performing all of the work in the vineyards themselves, which is signified by the term viticultor on their bottles. Jose’s mother is a native of Valtuille de Abajo, and his father is a native of Corullón. Together, Jose and Julia’s families have owned vineyards in Bierzo for generations. All of the work in the vineyard and winery is performed manually with the use of gravity, minimal intervention, and no chemical inputs. Quality, excellence, and soul are always the philosophy. JAG is defined by small production, very low yields, artisanal methods, and minimal intervention, yielding complex, elegant, delicious wines among the finest in Bierzo.

Bierzo has adopted a new quality-based classification system for its wines, closely following the Burgundian structure of regional, village, and single-vineyard wines (called Paraje in Bierzo). In the Vino de Villa classification system, 100% of the grapes must come from vineyards within the designated village, and yields must be at least 20% below the limit for D.O. Bierzo (25% for Paraje wines). Other quality-conscious regulations have been implemented that now make the Bierzo appellation a leading producer of fine wine not only in Spain but in the whole of Europe. 

JAG’s stunning, limited cuvée Godello de Valtuille Viñas Viejas is made from a single vineyard of old godello planted in 1860 at 200m in the village of Valtuille de Abajo in sandy-loam soils, making it a Valtuille Vino de Villa designated wine. Godello Viñas Viejas is a dry, complex, mineral-driven, serious white, produced in a Chablis-meets-Jura style, with smoky, flinty aromas and white balsamic, lemon peel, and dried pineapple notes on the palate. It’s a wine that will develop wonderfully with age, giving Grand Cru Chablis a run for its money. 

Crucial to the quality and complexity of JAG’s wines is the genetic heritage of their ancient vines, planted mostly before the industrialization of Spanish wine. With some vines in Valtuille being over 100 years old, their vineyards provide an unspoiled genetic window to an era before modern clones were selected for higher yields. It’s one thing to produce wines naturally; it’s another thing entirely to produce naturally-made wine from old-vine vineyards like these, which are among the oldest in Europe. The viticulture is strictly organic, and the only compost used is local, organic chestnuts, which grow in the vineyards. 

Tasters often remark that JAG’s genre-defining Valtuille godello tastes nothing like most other modern versions of the godello grape on the market. This observation is objectively true, as it has much more soul and depth than the average offering. The answers lie in the exceptional provenance of the vines, indigenous fermentations, miniscule yields, and hands-off winemaking. JAG’s godello and doña blanca vineyards in Valtuille continually produce some of Bierzo’s most distinctive white wines.

Vinification – After hand-harvesting in small crates and a selection process in the vineyard, the godello grapes are destemmed and slowly crushed in a vertical press. The grapes macerate with the skins for 24 hours without temperature control before being pressed. Fermentation then begins spontaneously with indigenous yeasts in old 500L French oak foudres. The wine then ages in the same barrels for eleven months and does not complete malolactic fermentation. The wine rests in tank for four months on the lees before being bottled.

  • Village: Valtuille de Abajo

  • Site: Valtuille at 200m

  • Grapes: Godello

  • Vine Age: Vines planted in 1860

  • Soil: Sandy loam

  • Vinification: Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control in old 500L French foudres

  • Aging: Eleven months on the lees in large, old French foudres

  • ABV: 13%

  • Farming: Practicing Organic

  • Vegan: Yes

  • Suggested Retail: $40.00 (750mL)