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- “I will be with you in the squeezing of a lemon”
- BODEGA MENGOBA, GREGORY PEREZ, Bierzo – Organic
- ADEGA SAMEIRAS, Ríbeiro – Organic
BODEGAS PITTACUM, ALFREDO MARQUES CALVA, Bierzo
Bodegas Pittacum was purchased several years ago by Terras Gauda who were looking to find a red wine with distinctive
personality. The winery is located in Arganza, a town of longstanding vine-growing and wine-making heritage, nestled in the
beautifully hilly landscape of the Bierzo region.
The Bierzo Tinto, made with the Mencia grape, is sourced from 50-90 year-old vineyards, located on poor slate soils so as
carefully to force the process of ripening. Organic fertilisers are used and green practices are employed throughout the
vineyard to ensure the health of the vines. Once the timing of the picking of the different plots has been decided, the teams of
grape-pickers make the first selection on the vine. Only the healthiest, ripest bunches are packed into 14-kilogram boxes, to
prevent them from splitting or becoming bruised.
They are then sent straight to the winery, where they arrive in perfect condition, ready to be processed.
The delivery area outside the winery is where the boxes are received on pallets and unloaded one by one onto the selection
bench, where any below-standard bunches that happen to have slipped through are promptly removed. The selective
extraction of tannins is carried out with manual cap-plunging, pumping-over and long macerations. Every day during the
barrelling the wines are tasted, and with the aid of analytical monitoring of polyphenol compounds, the appropriate time for
removal is determined.
Next, the grape skins are pressed in a vertical press working at low pressure-important if the wine is to be of optimal quality.
Now is the time for malolactic fermentation, part of which is done in stainless-steel vats and the rest in oak casks.
After malolactic fermentation – and still without having undergone any kind of filtering or clarifying – the wine is moved to
the aging casks.
Different oak sources and different vat curing levels to obtain the best results for each type of wine.
The casks are located in a stone farmhouse, sheltered from sunlight and at ideal temperature and humidity level, for as long
as necessary to reveal the potential of each harvest and characteristics of each type of wine.
After aging, the wine is clarified with egg white and then coarsely filtered, bottled and stored.
The wine is intense cherry-red colour with a striking purplish rim, very clean and brilliant. It is marked by a complex
bouquet, with a wide range of aromas including red fruits (blackberry, raspberry), liquorice and mineral tones,
pleasant woody hints, spices – pepper and oregano – and an agreeable backdrop redolent of smoked cocoa. Warm in
the mouth, with a significant concentration of fruit, dense and fleshy and sweet tannin it is a tasty wine to be
savoured, with a persistent finish and retro-nasal qualities, plus pleasant balsamic resonance.
The wines are sensitive and true to the vintage. 2002 is a wine of bright fruit and delicious acidity, whereas 2003 has
richer colour, sweeter fruit and more tannin. 2004 is stylistically between the two. Each wine, however, demonstrates
the individuality and expressiveness of the Mencia grape.
The Aurea is from a single 1-hectare vineyard called Areixola located on an east-facing hillside slope with a
particular microclimate favouring the production of aromatic Mencias. After a fifteen-day maceration period the
grapes receive a smooth pressing. A further malolactic fermentation in new French barrels is followed by three
months batonnage and ageing in new oak for 14 months. The wine is clarified with egg whites, but left unfiltered. The
Aurea has intense, expressive aromas: not only mature notes of roasted fruits (black cherries, sweet figs), toffee and
cocoa, but also herbal notes such as rosemary and lemongrass. Dense in the mouth, but exceedingly elegant with
smooth tannins, great balance and roundness. A very long finish and a complex aftertaste, very fruity with
harmonious roasted and toasted flavours again apparent. For such a rich wine this is amazingly delicious.
Petit Pitacum is a robust yet refreshing Mencia rosé oozing cherries and red plums as well as subtle notes of liquorice and
red pepper. This all-purpose wine would happily network fish soup, stuffed peppers, tuna, and lomo.
Alfredo Marques Calva, the technical director of Pittacum, is both artist and artisan, constantly researching and
experimenting in the winery. He is equally passionate about food, and a visit to his winery might include a lunch of
tuna belly with superb pimentos, air-dried beef or slow cooked roast kid washed down with plenty of Pittacum.
VAL DE LA LOBA TINTO
PETIT PITTACUM ROSE
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BODEGAS TERRAS GAUDA, Rías Baixas
Albariño wine is considered to be the Spanish “gold” of white wines for its colour and quality. But there’s also another
theory that connects the wine to the metal – sounds daft but we’ll give it a whirl. The Romans originally colonized Galicia
for its great mineral wealth, gold in particular; the system that they used for extracting the minerals was the “Terra
Montium”, which consisted of excavating tunnels, then lighting a fire in them so that they would collapse, and with this
system they literally managed to destroy mountains. But to excavate these tunnels they needed to soften the rock and to do
so they used none other than vinegar! The origins and applications of Albariño were industrial then; centuries later the
vine resurfaces and delicious wines are made. As they say locally: “Although they took all the gold at least they left behind
Galicia is the land of percebes (barnacles) and wild horses; here they celebrate the famous “curros” (horse corrals). They
round up all the wild horses to brand them and cut their manes; in Galician it is called “a rapa das bestas”. There is also
a strong Celtic tradition of folk song and bagpipes.
region of pine, chestnut and oak clad hills with a coastline punctuated by rias (coastal inlets). The region has actually
produced wines for many centuries, and by the middle of the 19
century, Galicia boasted 55,000 hectares of vines,
although phylloxera and other diseases greatly reduced this amount. The wine scene remained moribund until the 1980s
when Albariño, the region’s great white grape was “rediscovered” and found to yield excellent quality wines. Allied to this
was investment in the technology of cold fermentation and stainless steel that exalted the flavours and aromas of the grape.
Rías Baixas – low rivers – is named after the abovementioned fjord-like inlets. It has a markedly Atlantic climate with mild
winters, coolish summers, high humidity and elevated rainfall. The wines of Terras Gauda are located in the subzone of O
Rosal on the terraces that rise steeply above the river Miño which divides Spain from Portugal. The Abadia de San Campio
(100% Albariño) is very attractive with citrus, grapefruit, pineapple and mandarin flavours. The O Rosal, a selective blend
of the best Albariño grapes in the O Rosal subzone is mixed with the indigenous Loureira and Caiño Blanco (harvested in
October), is greenish-yellow, evoking white flowers and green plums on the nose and filling out on the palate with fresh
grape and apple compote flavours as well as peach kernel. Edged with superb acidity and a bristling minerality this
reminds one of a really good Riesling. Both the wines have delicacy and persistence in equal measure. When in this corner
of Spain drink with the harvest of the Atlantic and indulge in a Galician mariscada (seafood feast). Starting with pulpo a
feira (Octopus fair-style), second course mussels, chocos (cuttlefish), clams, prawns, scallops, crabs and, of course,
Terras Gauda is notable for owning around 85% of its own vineyards; the remainder of the grapes are provided under
strict quality control agreements with local growers. Having this control allows the estate to pick later and more
selectively (and over a greater period of time) than most others ensuring greater maturity and higher sugar levels in the
grapes. The sheltered aspect of the vineyards surrounded by forest, the proximity to the Mino and to the sea, also promotes
ripening. The result is that Terras Gauda is one of the few wineries that do not need to do a malolactic on any of their
wines, which is why they taste so exceptionally fresh and bright.
What also distinguishes the Terras Gauda – as the estate wine is known – is the presence of the indigenous Caiño variety.
Although approximately only 15% of the blend, this grape, which is virtually exclusive to Terras Gauda, gives a rich
quality to the overall wine. The Caiño vineyards tend to be planted on steep slopes with lots of broken slates; the grape
ripens late, but still has acidity and a strong mineral component. The effect is to lift the aromatic citrus nature of the
Albariño, giving the wine an irresistible zesty length.
And so to La Mar the latest project from Bodegas Terras Gauda, a blend of Caiño Blanco (85%) and Albarino (15%).
A word from our sponsors about Caiño.
It is a native variety from the O Rosal sub-zone, now virtually extinct. Terras Gauda produces 90% of the Caiño throughout
the region. A low yielding grape, the least productive of Galician white grape varieties, with small clusters and grapes Caiño
provides very good structure and body resulting in wine with definition and depth. Naturally high acidity provides freshness
and ensures perfect ageing. The grapes were harvested in the first week of October with excellent ripeness levels, good malic
and tartaric acidity and a wide aromatic profile. After fermentation the wine remained on lees in tank for three months with
batonnage. After a further period of ageing the wine was bottled in July 2010.
La Mar has initial aromas of sweet hay and ripe tropical fruit (mango and fresh pineapple) as well as fine balsamics with
particular accents of pine resin and finishing on notes of ripe peach and stonefruit. Great complexity with crunchy nectarine
flavours seasoned with ginger and pepper, marked mineral tones, the whole ensemble soothed by slick acidity. The wine has
plenty of extract followed by Caino’s classic acid touch, ending on a saline note and the overall impression is of creamy-
textured and rounded wine with lovely spice and the aforementioned balsamic flavours. There is definitely some ageing
ALBARINO, ABADIA DE SAN CAMPIO
ALBARINO, ABADIA DE SAN CAMPIO – ½ bottle
TERRAS GAUDA “O ROSAL”
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Why is Albariño such a firm favourite in London restaurants? Firstly, it is one of the few white wines from Spain with a strong identity.
There is a common feeling that Spain should produce great wine; certainly, it produces a prodigious volume of wine, but the number of
excellent drinkable whites is relatively insignificant. Albariño is one of the exceptions. Other than Galicia and northern Portugal, Albariño
is hardly grown anywhere else in the world (there are a handful of examples coming out of California). Secondly, there is the romance of
the region from which it originates. Centuries ago Galicia was believed to be the edge of the earth or civilisation, the place where land
ended and an endless sea began. The name Finisterre is testament to this elemental frontier mentality. Galicia’s spiritual capital is
Santiago de Compostela. Here lies the body of St. James the Apostle. Millions of Christians make the pilgrimage each year, visiting the
silver casket entombed beneath the altar of the grand cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Many come to atone for their sins, walking
hundreds of miles over well-worn paths first navigated in the ninth century, when the apostle’s remains were discovered. Others seek the
miracle of healing, some climbing the granite steps at the entrance to the cathedral on their hands and knees.
Perhaps one minor miracle is how viticulture thrives in such a region. The wet maritime climate seldom allows the grapes to fully ripen
and one would imagine that the wine should normally either taste tart and thin or funky and mouldy, the result of moisture in the
vineyards. Modern trellising systems and canopy management techniques have certainly helped to combat rot; meanwhile the best estates
harvest manually and also do a triage on a selection bench. Albariño’s flavours tease and please on multiple levels. Citric notes are
plentiful; the Albariño disports ripe grapefruit, lime and kiwi; the wine also has good sugar levels balanced by wonderfully natural acids
and crystalline minerality. Despite its high acidity, Albariño is not a wine that ages well. Although it is often compared to German
Riesling, Albariño is meant to be drunk young because it has a tendency to oxidize quickly.
The perfect accompaniment to a whole range of fish and shellfish from mussels, clams and oysters to sardines, mackerel, skate and hake,
Albariño is the product of its environment, a true wine of the sea. It is a reminder of where water, sky and land meet; it quenches the
thirst, lifts the spirits and can transport you to a wild, beautiful landscape.
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Bodega Mengoba’s vineyards span over Espanillo, Valtuille, Villafranca de El Bierzo and Carracedo on the slate, calcareous
and stony soils of these areas. Two varieties of grape are cultivated to make their white wine, Doña Blanca and Godello. The
Mencía vines are located in Espanillo at about 2500 ft above sea level. The vines are between 25 and 80 years old.
Winemaker Gregory Pérez takes great pride in the bodega’s artisanal vineyard work; the vines are grown organically and
ploughed by cows. Green pruning and integrated pest management are utilized, and they only intervene in the vineyard when
absolutely necessary. The Bierzo Blanco (Godello and Dona Blanca) comes from different vineyards with diverse soil types
ranging from calcareous-clay, stony and slate. After a manual harvest in small boxes and goes through a pneumatic press.
The juice is fermented at low temperature, the fine lees selected for five month batonnage. The plots of Mencia are located in
Horta and Vallafranca del Bierzo at 550 metres of altitude on clay soils with sand. The grapes are destemmed and crushed
with a traditional vinification with pumping over during the fermentation which takes place in stainless steel.
purple and fruity it has flavours of sweet black cherries and damson, a dash of Mencia herbs (oregano and pepper) and a
lovely fresh finish. Amazing value and perfect wine by the glass
The Folie Douce is a terrific sweet wine from Petit Manseng, Godello and Dona Blanca on slate and clay spoils. Harvest was
made on December 15
, the grapes raisined and then frozen, The juice is fermented in 225 litre barrels and remains on the
lees for a further seventeen months. The final wine has 157 grams of residual sugar.
BIERZO BREZO BLANCO
BIERZO BREZO TINTO
FLOR DE BREZO
ADEGA SAMEIRAS, Ríbeiro – Organic
Surrounded by mountainous terrain and sheltered from the oceanic influence, the cultivation of the vine is the dominant
feature of the landscape of Ribeiro, occupying almost all the slopes. The DO is located in southern Galicia, in the north-
western edge of the province of Ourense, in the confluence of the valleys formed by the rivers Miño, Avia, and Barbantiño
Arnoia. The vineyards range from 75 to 400 metres above sea level in the valleys and on the hillsides, sometimes on steeply-
terraced slopes. At Sameirás they uphold the utmost respect for the environment, maintaining the integrity of soil and
microbial activity by using only strictly necessary treatments and preventing erosion by the application of organic matter. Due
to the variety of soils Adega Sameirás work with six grapes, matching each variety to its preferred terroir.
They also work traditionally, for example, tying the branches with wicker, raffia and reed materials, which, once they cease to
be useful, are ploughed back into the soil for organic matter. During the harvest Adega Sameirás only pick the ripest bunches,
doing a severe triage on the vine. The wine is then fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Produced
from an intriguing blend of
55% Treixadura, 20% Albariño, 12% Godello, 8% Lado, 2% Loureira, 2% Torrontes and 1%
Caíño Blanco, this medium gold-coloured tank-aged wine offers a complex nose of minerals, honey, melon and citrus.
Medium-bodied, it has a smooth texture, excellent underlying acidity, and a pure, long finish. It’s a fruity little numero. The
Tinto is every bit as interesting as the white, with the sort of crunchy minerality that tastes as if it is carved out of the very
stone itself. A blend of local heroes – Sousón 30%, Caíño Tinto 30%, Brancellao 20% & Mencía 20%
it is a dark ruby-coloured sporting a multifaceted perfume of earth notes, Asian spices, lavender, menthol, mint, black cherry,
and black raspberry. Elegantly styled, on the palate it has outstanding volume, grip, and length that appeals to both the
intellect and the senses.
SAMEIRAS BLANCO 1040 COLHEITA
SAMEIRAS BLANCO – magnum
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Beginning in the early 1990s, the DO Ribeira Sacra began to take form and the Enríquez family started the process of
reclaiming their historic site, Peza do Rei. Peza is Galician dialect for Pieza or Trozo, meaning “parcel”. This wine is named
after a famed 5 ha parcel of prime vineyard which was considered one of the best vineyards in the time of Castilian kings
(“Rei” is Galician for Rey meaning King)
Spain. It is home to some of the most spectacular vineyards anywhere in the world, with slopes approaching 60% incline.
Ribeira Sacra is divided into five sub-zones following the rivers Miño and Sil (a tributary of the Miño) towards the city of
Ourense: This one is Ribeiras do Sil with some of the steepest vineyards of the region spilling down to the river Sil. The
Romans entered Ribeira Sacra as early as 24 A.D. to extract gold from the river valleys. This required prodigious engineering
feats such as the diversion of the Sil River—accomplished with slave labour by digging a 1,300-foot tunnel through what is
now called Montefurado (“perforated mountain”). The Romans also used slave labour to plant terraced vineyards along the
Sil and Minho riverbanks. Today, Ribeira Sacra growers still have to work like slaves to prune, tend, and harvest grapes from
these improbably situated vines. A few sites, including Cividade, Marcelino, and Viña A Ferreira, are so inaccessible that
when the grapes are harvested, they are lowered to boats waiting on the Sil River, brought to landings that can be reached by
road, and finally hauled to the wineries. All the vineyards have makeshift rails adapted from mining, with mechanical lifts that
are winched up and down, carrying one person at a time, a few tools, and, during harvest, containers of grapes. Ribeira Sacra
is where the men (and women) are truly vital, because the cosecheros (those who tend and harvest the vineyards) must also be
capable of what is known as heroic viticulture. It is one of only two areas in Spain (Catalunya’s Priorat is the other) that
requires this “heroic viticulture”. The region’s steeply tiered slate bancales, or terraces, have a great deal to do with why the
wines of Ribeira Sacra can be so profoundly terroir-driven, intriguing, and delicious, and why this area has the potential to
produce wines as great as those from anywhere in Spain. Eight acres of vertiginous, single-row slate terraces form a perfect
south-facing amphitheatre on the Edo River tributary of the Sil. The wine is a blend of indigenous melange of Mencia,
Brancellao, Merenzao, and Caiño tinto. Light bodied, sappy, mineral red, crunchy red fruits (redcurrant/cranberry) with
refreshing acidity. Unoaked. This wine carries all the aromatic lift of the vineyards whence it comes.
PEZO DO REI TINTO
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