In only a few short years El Jaléo has become an exploration that I hold dear. As with so many of the wines produced over the years by Edmunds St John, it has become not so much a final product originating in a process, but rather a process, (or perhaps the process) that teaches me, again and again, how things come alive, and how that shapes how we are, and how we can be in this world. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, here.
The 2018 El Jaléo strikes me as a wine that has learned how to dance; it’s up on its toes! It’s clicking its heels! It’s 31% Mourvedre, 29% Grenache, 26% Graciano and 14% Tempranillo, and it’s not fooling around!
The ’18 growing season at Shake Ridge was, as is typical, a warm one, though without prolonged periods of extreme heat. Toward the latter part of the ripening period there was relatively mild weather, and the grapes finished up in pretty calm and comfortable fashion. Tempranillo was picked on the 7th of September, Grenache on the 18th. A small amount of Mourvedre from the upper portion of a steep block also came in on the 18th, the rest on the 21st, and Graciano was picked on the 24th. In my 3rd year of working with these wonderfully farmed grapes, I believe I’d begun to feel like we were working together! The grapes were happy about it, and so was I!
Winemaking, once the grapes were picked, consisted of de-stemming the fruit, fermenting in half-ton bins (without inoculation), pressing at dryness, and barreling, in 17 years-used French oak barrels, racking to blend the different components, in December, adding roughly 20ppm SO2, after malo finished up. Then: back to barrel until March. In March the wine was transferred to stainless. It was subsequently racked again, before bottling in early Summer.
Winemaker’s tasting notes: Color is a deep crimson-red. Thrilling, peppery high-toned aromas: fresh, gorgeous red and blue fruit, and spice, very mild back note of menthol, intriguing depth. On the palate, there are, on entry, simultaneous impressions of both tenderness and firm structure, a kind of subtle, riveting pas de deux. Great tension and focus in flavor and texture: voluptuous tannins, very good length. Seems likely to develop beautifully for many years.
245 cases produced $29.00 per bottle