If one follows the Duero River as it flows out of the mountains of the province of Soria in Castilla y León, one will soon discover many of Spain’s most exciting and expensive wines. Along the way, one passes fields of grazing sheep and waving wheat as the land shimmers and glows under the scintillating Castilian sun, but most compelling for the thirsty oenophile in search of liquid gold lie the hallowed vineyards of Ribera del Duero and Zamora, home to Spain’s most compelling grape variety – Tempranillo.
It is on the rolling hills of Zamora and nearby Toro that the Juan Gil family works magic with Tempranillo, Spain’s most important grape variety. Juan Gil Jiménez, grandfather to the present generation, constructed his first winery in 1916 in Jumilla. However, it is his son Juan Gil Guerrero and today his grandsons, Juan Gil González and Paco Gil González, who have expanded the family’s enterprise to include prime vineyards in Zamora, Toro, Rueda, and Montsant. Moreover, they have continuously pushed the envelope on quality. From very old, shy-bearing Tempranillo vines from El Pego and Villanueva de Campeán in the province of Zamora, Juan Gil fashions Tridente, which now takes its rightful place among Zamora’s most compelling wines. The Tempranillo vines for Tridente grow on gravel-rich soils that are trained in the traditional vaso system. Many of these vines are in excess of 100 years of age and yield small amounts of intense, seductive fruit. The resulting wine is aged for 15 months in French oak barrels. Quality, rather than quantity, is paramount with Juan Gil, as the 2016 Tridente Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Tempranillo will attest.
Dry-farmed, no pesticides or herbicides, hand-harvested, Vegan
Tridente’s Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León Tempranillo has always been one of Juan Gils’ most compelling wines. It is also one of the world’s best bargains in old vine Tempranillo. As soon as the cork exits the bottle and splashes joyfully into a glass, the 2016 Tridente Tempranillo captivates the eye as well as the nose. It greets the eager taster with a deep, saturated purple robe and a redolence that brings both joy and anticipation. Scents of ripe black fruits mixed with incense and sweet balsamic notes tantalize the nose and foreshadow the wine’s rich, voluminous flavors. In the mouth, concentrated blackberry and crème-de-cassis flavors infused with deft touches of graphite and toasted oak explode on the palate. Bold, concentrated, and powerful, yet quite balanced, the 2016 Tridente Tempranillo provides ample testimony to the glory of old vine Tempranillo from Zamora and other premier old vine vineyards throughout Castilla y León. Tridente’s hedonistic Tempranillo is one delightful, multi-layered wine that makes far too many Tempranillo based wines from nearby Ribera del Duero and Rioja taste like ordinary plonk. Emanating from an outstanding vintage, enjoy the well-endowed 2016 Tridente Tempranillo from ancient Castilla y León vineyards at cool room temperature (58°-62° F) after 15-20 minutes of aeration.
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