In El Penedès, past the vineyards and cellars overflowing with Cava, lies a dirt road leading towards the miniscule town of Font-rubí. If you look closely, at the top of the hill you may see Glòria Garriga’s girlhood dream that began many years ago. She knew as a child that she would live on that hill in connection with the earth, the sky, and all of the beautiful creatures in between. Years later this dream has brought us Els Jelipins.
Upon realizing they did not believe in the extreme viticulture techniques that they saw all around them, Els Jelipins began a search in 2001 that led them to the very special plots of El Penedès Superior. Today Glòria and her lovely daughter Berta are making real, natural wine in the surroundings that they love.
Their first vintage (2003) and second vintage (2004) were made in her father’s barn. Since then Glòria and Berta built their dream house and now make the wines in their cellar. They make 2300 bottles of red wine a year, and have started bottling one small amphora’s worth of white wine in 2014, about 200 bottles. Glòria always wanted to keep this project small, so that she does not have to hire other workers, thus she prices the wines appropriately so that she can survive. She knows she could charge an even higher price for this uniquely incredible wine, but she wants only to work the land and live a peaceful life.
Glòria and Berta uses different selected hillside vineyards from a few select growers, carrying out delicate duties such as the pruning themselves. Each vineyard is chosen for its particular location, climate, grape variety, age of vines, and soil type. As the fruit matures, they select only part of the crop that is the best for their wine, hand-picking the grapes over a number of sessions: early in the morning and in small cases.
All of Els Jelipins wines are made with native yeasts, without temperature control, fining, or filtration, and only a pinch of sulfur is added at the moment before bottling. Open top barrel fermentation and some wax lined oval amphorae are used along with lengthy aging in big barrels.
Each bottle is hand painted, showing the symbolic heart of Els Jelipins. Although the heart changes with every vintage, the love within the bottle does not. If you try one of their wines, you will for a moment be part of a dream, and that is exactly what Glòria and Berta want.
Age of Vines: Sumoll 80 (Sumoll), 35 (Garnatxa)
Soil: Sumoll alluvial w/ slate & granite traces (rich in minerals, also has quartz). Garnatxa clay/calcare
Varietals: Sumoll (60%) and Garnacha (40%)
Vinification Method: As little intervention as possible (wild yeast, SO2 at bottling only). The fermentation temperature is established naturally and is normally low. The extraction process is slow and careful, and they drain by tasting, respecting vital cycles. Aged more than 30 months in used oak vats (10hl foudre) from France & Garbelloto (Eslavonian oak) for the Sumoll; in demi muid from Seguin Moreau & Dominique Laurent for Garnatxa; and at the moment in trial stage the use of amphora 3hl vats (10% total production).
Tasting Note: Notable for its balance. The nose is intense: kirsch aromas, clean, well-defined red fruit, accompanied by a subtle hint of balsam, flowers, and a suggestion of cacao and minerals. The taste starts straight, vertical and very crystalline: medium weight, warm, juicy and clean, with a firm but silky tannic structure. A long, voluptuous and fresh finish.
Pairing: Stews, chicken and pork dishes.
Here is an answer key to decode the riddle of which vintage matches with which label (note that they did not make the wine in 2008):