Bodegas Juan Gil and El Nido: Raising the Bar in Jumilla

The Juan Gil Vineyard at the foot of the Sierra de las Grajas

Founded in 1916 by Juan Gil Jiménez, Juan Gil Bodegas Familiares is now managed by the fourth generation of the family. We recently visited the Juan Gil winery in Jumilla and tasted the wines with Miguel Gil, President, and Loren Gil, Export Director. Both have played important roles in taking the winery to new levels of quality and sales. This article is one of several highlighting the outstanding wineries of Jumilla. A full report on the wines of Jumilla will be published in the spring.

Loren Gil and Miguel Gil

The winery was reinvented in 2001 with the creation of Bodegas El Nido in collaboration with Australian winemaker Chris Ringland. About the same time, a new winery was established in Paraje de la Aragona in the northern outskirts of Jumilla and international marketing efforts were increased, with particular success in the US. Also, the winery embarked on a nationwide expansion within Spain, creating several new wineries with winemaking managed by enologist Bartolomé Abellán, a native of Jumilla holding a Masters in Enology from the Universidad de Murcia and winemaking experience in Australia, Chile and New Zealand.  We review several current releases of Bodegas Juan Gil and El Nido below.

Head Winemaker Bartolomé Abellán

The Bodegas Juan Gil in Jumilla owns about 700 ha of estate vineyards, mostly planted to Monastrell. In addition, the winery manages another 230 ha of vineyards in the area, all located at 700-850m elevation. These vineyards include dry-farmed, old bush vine Monastrell, much of which is self-rooted (pie franco). Their goal is to do all their farming without chemical products, and a large percentage of their vineyards are already organically certified. The two Bodegas El Nido wines are sourced from the same vineyard at 700-850m elevation with chalky stones and a limestone strata 50-70 cm below; the head pruned, dry farmed Monastrell vines are 75-95 years old.

The US importer is Gil Family Estates.

Bodegas Juan Gil Wines  

Ana Belén Simón

The wines of Bodegas Juan Gil very good quality and approachable when young, but it’s their value that is most remarkable. They offer consistent freshness, flavor and balance at incredibly low prices. Ana Belén Simón is the assistant winemaker for Bodegas Juan Gil.

Juan Gil 2020 Blanco Moscatel Seco Jumilla ($11) 91  Made in INOX, Nomblot egg, and barrel. A unique and very successful take on Muscat, this wine shows an effusive perfume of fresh ripe pear, melon, beeswax and honeysuckle. It’s full in the mouth and richly flavored but also bright and very fresh on the palate with mouthwatering acidity and a long finish. An exceptional value white wine made from Moscatel de Grano Menudo. The 2019 vintage was also tasted with a similar assessment. 13.5% alc.

Juan Gil 2020 Honora Vera Monastrell Jumilla ($8) 89  Medium ruby red.  Fermented and aged in all stainless steel, the Honora Vera is Juan Gil’s top organic Monastrell.  Showing scents of fresh red plum and berry with a light earthy edge, it’s very fresh on the attack, offering an herbal-edged, fruit forward palate. Clean and fresh with good concentration, this is a straightforward Monastrell.

Juan Gil 2020 Albacea Monastrell Jumilla ($11) 90+  Dark carmen red. Showing a spicy, huckleberry/red plum nose with a touch of oak spice, the Albacea is well balanced and full and round in the mouth. It’s delicious, easy drinking with decent depth–the perfect pizza wine. A vineyard blend aged 4 months in French and American oak, it’s the same wine as the cream-labeled Juan Gil in Europe. Exceptional value!

Juan Gil 2019 Red Blend Jumilla ($16) 91  Aromatic nose of red fruit, spice and herbs. Medium weight palate showing plum and darker red berries with savory notes, round tannins and excellent persistence. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Monastrell (45%), and Syrah (10%) aged one year in French and American oak barrels. 15% alc. Excellent value!

Juan Gil 2019 Silver Label Jumilla ($15) 92  This organically certified wine shows surprising complexity and richness for the price.  There’s alluring dark red fruit with herbal undertones on the nose followed by a full-bodied, well-balanced palate with layers of red cherry, fig, balsamic, and oak and savory/earthy notes.  Good persistence on the finish, too. 100% Monastrell sourced from 40+ year old vines and matured 12 months in 20% new French oak.  A complete wine. 15% alc.

Juan Gil 2019 Blue Label Jumilla ($29) 93  Opens with deep fruit aromas of dark plum, cherries and berries complemented by slate like minerals and hints of tobacco leaf and licorice. Rich on the attack with multiple layers of generous flavors; admirably concentrated with a very rich lingering extract on the finish. A blend of 60% Monastrell (55+ year old vines), 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah matured 18 months in mostly new oak. 15.5% alc.

Bodegas El Nido

The Bodegas El Nido wines are not inexpensive, but they are good value. They offer the depth and complexity of top tier California wines at half the price.  More importantly, they illustrate the potential of Jumilla for making world class wines.  The Bodegas el Nido wines begin fermentation in small open top stainless steel vats before racking to new French and American oak barrels where fermentation is completed and the wines are aged.  María Teresa Riquelme Torres is the assistant winemaker for Bodegas El Nido.  She is also co-author with Chris Ringland of the article “Los Vinos de Excelencia de Monastrell” in the book El Libro de la Monastrell (Región de Murcia, 2018).

Bodegas El Nido 2019 Clio Jumilla ($49) 93  Opaque ruby purple. The Monastrell dominant Clio offers aromas and flavors of cassis, dark cherry, and fig all supported by sweet oak. It has a silky mouth feel with excellent depth and energy and flavors that turn sweeter through the mid-palate. A sophisticated and polished wine that shows no alcoholic heat despite 15.5% alc. Exceptionally persistent finish. Ready to drink now. A blend of 70% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are aged for 24 months in new French and American oak barrels.

Monastrell Grapes in Tank

Bodegas El Nido 2019 El Nido Jumilla ($140) 96  Saturated dark violet. El Nido is an exceptionally polished, hedonistic wine, but it’s also fresh and balanced beginning with a rich, sweetly scented nose. There’s an abundance of rich ripe black cherry, licorice and cassis with hints of dark chocolate and dried fig on the dense palate. El Nido reveals an alluring, silky texture with expressive minerality.  Finishes long and seamless with fine tannins and perfectly integrated oak. A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines planted in 1978 and 30% Monastrell. Fermented in stainless steel and matured 24 months in French and American oak. 15.5% alc.










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