An Evening with Juan Gils

There’s nothing better on a cold, winter evening in Minnesota than to sit down with some good friends, some good food and some good wine! I had that opportunity this week at an event hosted by Wine Republic in Excelsior that featured the wines of Juan Gil Winery of Spain.

I must confess my knowledge of Spanish wines compared to my favorites in California, South Africa, France and Italy is woefully low. ‘I’ve had Tempranillo a few times and liked it.’ would sum it up.  That evening I walked in blind but since then I’ve learned that the Juan Gil wineries are scattered throughout Spain, they’ve been making wine since 1916 and there’s much more going on here than Tempranillo.


Wine #1: Lagar da Condesa Albariño 2015

I had never heard of Albariño before which is hardly surprising since I’m mainly a fan of big, juicy reds like Zinfandel and Syrah. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by this white wine with it’s pineapple, passion fruit, lychee and pear notes. The chef paired it with a citrus starter – slices of orange with crême fraîche, walnuts and fig. A perfect start.


Wine #2: Honoro Vera Rosé 2015

Of course there must be Rosé! For me Rosé is what you drink in the summer when it’s too warm for a big red.  Oh, and do make it from Provence, s’il vous plaît.  Well, I may need to re-think that.  This Rosé has the usual fruity notes including -at least I think I tasted it – watermelon. The chef paired this with shrimp on a spicey-sauced pizza dough over greens.  Yum.


Wine #3: Atteca Garnacha 2015

I am ridiculously in love with this wine.  Is it the aging in French oak barrels? Is it the big red juiciness?  The smoky finish?  Who knows – love doesn’t need a reason.  This was sublime paired with bruschetta with mozzarella and tomato over greens.


Wine #4: Trident Tempranillo 2015

If my heart hadn’t already been stolen away by the Garnacha then this Tempranillo would have done the job. Paired with meat-filled pies made with pizza dough this wine had been aged in oak barrels for 15 months. This Tempranillo is about power – oak, graphite and black fruits.  Richness.


Wine #5: Juan Gil Blue Label 2015

The grand finale and I wasn’t SO taken with the Grenacha not to notice and appreciate it. Blends can be tricky to pair but this mix of Cabernet-Sauvignon and Syrah would be perfect with a special occassion steak dinner.  Actually, the stuffed peppers the chef chose worked quite well too.

Note on the labels: Aren’t they gorgeous? I was told the winery hires a painter who will sit in the vineyards to create the paintings that are used for the labels. True or not it’s a lovely vision.

This was a wonderful evening with great wine, food and conversation.  No dessert which was a small disappointment even though we did not go away empty.  However, love trumps all and this event was truly a labor of love for a great winery I’m looking forward to learning more about.

Feed the blogger: Experienced in Spanish wines?  Do you know the identity of the mysterious label artist?  Comments welcome.

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