Have you met Juan Gil's big brother?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sandwiched between the Juan Gil silver label ($16 release price) and El Nido Clio ($45) is an interesting wine. The blue labeled Juan Gil 18 Meses (months) carries a release price of $35.

While visiting Spain last summer I saw this bottling at several restaurants but I never had a chance to taste it. Although we tasted at Juan Gil, and El Nido, and at a couple of restaurants where wineries would bring their wines I never got a chance to try the blue labeled Juan Gil.

I sensed that was due to production levels (15,000 for the silver label vs. 2,500 for the blue label) as much as QPR proposition. By QPR I mean - if this is just a bigger/better version of Juan Gil why pay twice as much for it? Especially if you can get Clio for just a little more?

But I had a chance to try the Juan Gil 18 month blue label recently and I was impressed.

The composition is more similar to El Nido than Juan Gil proper. Whereas Juan Gil silver label is 100% Monastrell, El Nido Clio is 70% Monastrell/30% Cabernet. Juan Gil blue label is 60% Monastrell, 30% Cabernet, 10% Syrah. And it comes together brilliantly. The 18 Meses denotes the 18 months the wine spends in oak barrels (vs the 12 for the silver label and 4 for an even more affordably labeled wine that sees no distribution in the US). And whereas some old vine Monastrell can come off as raisiny and/or pruney this wine never goes anywhere near that territory. It's a gorgeous effort.

Here are my notes on the 2010 blue label...

2010 Juan Gil 18 Meses Blue Label
$35 Release Price
15.5% Alcohol

Gorgeous nose of expressive rich blackberry, vanilla, and blueberry. Deftly avoids veering into boozy territory, especially on the palate, as it reigns it in with a clean, taut mouthfeel that's not overly plump yet still velvety. Really hard to do and something I've seen Juan Gil/El Nido Clio do well consistently. An extraordinarily finely crafted wine.

93/100 WWP: Outstanding


Conclusion and Recommendations

Definitely give the Juan Gil 18 Meses blue label a whirl if you can catch this in the mid-$20s. I think this is a very nice member of the Juan Gil family that fits squarely between the ever-delicious Juan Gil silver label in the $10-$15 range and the amazing El Nido Clio you can find in the mid-$30s.

Do you like hearing about great value wines like this? I'd love it if you subscribed to The Wellesley Wine Press so we can keep in touch.


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