Wine region / Country
Casar de Burbia 2015 (2 bottles)
Pittacum 2016 (2 bottles)
Las Gundiñas 2016 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £76.56
Club Discount Price: £64.69
You save: £11.87 (15.50%)
The once derided Mencia grape has turned out to be the perfect variety to channel all the expressivity of Bierzo vineyards. Young winemakers together with the few long-standing believers in El Bierzo have invested curiosity and effort to make the most of the potential of this area. They have produced a new batch of wines which surprise and seduce an ever-growing number of wine experts and reviewers. The new Bierzo wines are lively ones thanks to a greater control of the grapes as they grow; they are exciting because of their more precise acidity; and their warmth and pleasantness seduce the drinker. Local varieties, led by the Mencia, have shown us that with the right winemaking methods, they can reflect the essence of these landscapes in a bottle, and delight us with a faithful representation of the character of the different soils, locations, and vintages. Each local winery gifts us with their vision of the region and today we offer you wines from three of what we believe are the most representative cellars. Our objective? Simply to enjoy some of the new Bierzo wines!
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Young red Crianza. Bodega Casar de Burbia Bierzo, Spain Mencia
Bottle: £7.57 club members / £8.95 non-members
The fruit was harvested manually and underwent a cold pre-maceration process to draw out its most delicate aromas. The must was then fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before being left to stand on its fine lees for two months. It was then aged in French oak barrels for twelve months.
The result of this process is a pure Mencia varietal wine with a striking and dense violet colour. The high quality of the grapes gives it its fruitiness while the oak brings vanilla and caramel creaminess. It is extremely pleasant in the mouth with very fine tannins and a rounded sensation thanks, partly, to the clay soils of its vineyards. Delicate vegetal tones appear in colder vintages, adding freshness to the more usual taste of wild fruit (raspberries), cherries, violets, fallen leaves and smoky hints. It is robust, fresh, and mature on drinking; a reasonably spicy and mineral wine full of life. An excellent example of this cellar’s wines, it is both complex and direct with clear features such as its acidity and tannins which indicate this is a wine which will keep well too.
The versatility of its outstanding harmony means it pairs perfectly with many dishes, as well as being the ideal wine for a casual get-together with friends.
Red meats / hare / entrecôte with pepper sauce / vegetable casseroles / cooked sausages
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Young red Crianza. Viñedos y Bodegas Pittacum Bierzo, Spain Mencia
Bottle: £8.13 club members / £9.63 non-members
Bunches of grapes are collected by hand and only the best grapes are selected to be vinified with extreme care and used to produce saignée wine which then ages in oak, sheltered from temperature changes in the stillness of the dark and cool wine cellar. Its time in the bottle smoothes the wine out and rounds off its youthful vigour.
Pittacum has an intense Picota cherry colour and delights with a nose of blue flowers, ripe black plums, shrubland and the freshness of damp soil, tobacco and bay leaves, crumbling stones, and freshly-picked blueberries. Juicy and fresh on the palate with a glowing acidity and enveloping maturity, reminiscent of Indian ink, it fills the mouth with warm and measured tannins while it delights the tongue with a degree of complexity rarely seen in this price range. Just the right amount of dryness leads inevitably to a second sip and its natural freshness suggests it will pair well with many gastronomic dishes. It has a retronasal smell of elegant smoke and hints of fruit which is wilder and even more lively than the first taste. The wine has a certain resilient character reminding us of the first harvests, adding balance and elegance with every vintage. A contemporary reinterpretation of Bierzo wines, it does not hesitate to show the potential of a great grape like the Mencia which expresses itself openly and transmits the elegance of its contemplative ageing in wood. The Mencia can be tasted in every sip of Pittacum, as can the Bierzo landscapes, soils, and climate.
Vegetable casseroles / stewed meats with mushrooms / pasties
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Red Crianza. La Vizcaína de Vinos Bierzo, Spain Mencia, Estaladiña, Sousón, Alicante Bouschet
Bottle: £16.64 club members / £19.70 non-members
Las Gundiñas is produced with a base of Mencia, and small amounts of other traditional varieties such as Trousseau (or Bastardo), Alicante Bouschet, and Doña Blanca, all of which thrive as hundred-year-old bush, or goblet, vines on clay and calcareous soils 500 metres up in the hillsides of Valtuille de Abajo. The local surroundings give an acidity which makes the wine assertive, yet not aggressive. Together with an elegant bitter touch, it means the wine is hard to place geographically even for experienced tasters. Its tightness and sobriety can invoke memories of Nebbiolo or even Sumoll reds.
A certain wild touch to the wine ensnares the drinker, perhaps due to its production where whole bunches, stems and all, are fermented in open tanks. Its mineral, chalky, almost saline, tightness adds elegance to the more predictable wild fruit the wine offers. Cherries, blackberries, orange zest, fine smoky hints, and a handful of fine toasted spices remind the drinker of the wooden staves from the old barrels it is aged in. Thyme and freshness from coastal woodlands abound, blended in with the rigidity of shattered graphite, damp soil and fine blackcurrant skin tannins, thanks to its long maceration. Its body and character are ideal to make this a wine for keeping for years, but it is also warm enough to invite you to drink it immediately.
Sardines / Iberian pork
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