Gus is a wine produced by Raúl Pérez from 100% Mencia grapes coming from the town of Valtuille. This village is known for producing powerful rich Mencias. Raúl Pérez is the best at turning something powerful into elegant. So, with Gus we have the rare combination of power and finesse at once. Gus is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels that are 2 to 3 years old. This Mencía is medium bodied and approachable while young. It exhibits red candy flavors combined with spice and licorice. It showcases the power of Bierzo and its charm.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? Produced from old vines planted in 1946. All the grapes come from the village of Valtuille de abajo.
RATING HISTORY: 2014 91VM
GRAPE: 100% Mencia. Vines planted in 1946, tended in clay and sandy soil at 650 m (2,132 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Similar to a mature Grand Cru Burgundy or First Growth Bordeaux, pair this wine with the finest cuisine constructed of simple but constructed layers of flavor like oven-roasted duck, medallions of venison, grass-fed or Kobe beef steak. The wild red berry profile of this wine should pair extremely well with wild mushroom varieties like chanterelle, hen-of-the-woods, chestnut, oyster, enoki, hedgehog and morels.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: 30% clusters with stems undergo a pre-fermentation“cold soak” maceration and fermentation. The skins and stems are macerated with the wine for 20 days. Fermentation and post fermentation maceration are carried out in large, 1,500-liter French oak foudre. Stirring of the lees (batonnage) is practiced while the wine is aged for 12 months to enrich the wine's texture.
PRODUCTION: 1,993 cases (12pks)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located within Zone 1. El Bierzo, sometimes called, "the gateway to Galicia" is enclosed on both sides by mountains. The vineyards are located surrounding the town of Valtuille de Abajo at 530 meters (1,739 ft.) elevation. The soil is sandy with small river stones. This soil type is poor in nutrients, which naturally reduces the vigor and yields of the vines. As a result, the grapes produced are small, and full of concentrated and expressive aromas and flavors. For climate, the area's average temperature from April-October is 61.42F. A yearly average rainfall of 28 in. makes this one of the driest and warmest wine regions in northwestern Spain.
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant ruby. Aromas of blackberry, cherry pit and pungent flowers take on hints of licorice and succulent herbs with aeration. Juicy and broad on the palate, offering bitter cherry and black currant flavors that pick up a spicy nuance the back half. The floral note repeats on very long, gently tannic finish, which shows no rough edges. -- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold