May 2019 Selection

Enjoying the new Bierzo

May 2019 Selection

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%)

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About this selection...

El Bierzo is a beautiful spot in the León province of Spain, located between the wonderful landscapes of Asturias and Galicia. Although it may seem a meeting point between these two regions, it has its own character and its own particular styles of wine. Vineyards surrounded by chestnut and oak trees, winding rivers and historic buildings offer us wines which bring together all these influences in a striking image of natural purity hard to come by in these times of mass-production and excessive consumerism. The Atlantic climate comes in from the west to mix with continental climate features from the east to ensure El Bierzo wines are wines with energy, elegance, volume, and fineness.

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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Casar de Burbia 2015 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Bodega Casar de Burbia Bierzo, Spain Mencia

Bottle: £7.57 club members / £8.95 non-members


Forty-year-old vines planted in the clay estates of the Valtuille de Arriba valley produce the grapes behind the Casar de Burbia range of wines. The Mencia grapes used for the Casar de Burbia 2015 come from Finca Valdepiñeiro, a wonderful hillside plot at an altitude of 600 metres.

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

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Purplish red / clean / bright / high density / dense tears
    • Bouquet
      Fruit aromas / raspberry / toffee notes / caramel / ageing notes / expressive
    • Palate
      Good acidity / flavoursome / tannic / vivacious / intense / straightforward / fruit notes / ageing notes / varietal notes / long
  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2020.

Casar de Burbia 2015
Front and back

Pittacum 2016 (2 bottles)

Young red Crianza. Viñedos y Bodegas Pittacum Bierzo, Spain Mencia

Bottle: £8.13 club members / £9.63 non-members


Pittacum was one of the first red wines produced in this group of splendid new Bierzo wines. Old vines on hillsides, rooted in deep, well-drained and quite fertile soils guarantee restrained strength and the ideal maturity. The winery spent fifteen years studying the qualities of different areas of their estates to find those with the best wine-producing possibilities and to appreciate the true potential of each corner of the landscape.

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

  • Alcohol content: 14,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2022.

Pittacum 2016
Front and back

Las Gundiñas 2016 (2 bottles)

Red Crianza. La Vizcaína de Vinos Bierzo, Spain Mencia, Estaladiña, Sousón, Alicante Bouschet

Bottle: £16.64 club members / £19.70 non-members


The La Vizcaína de Vinos winery is the most recent winemaking project started up by Raúl Pérez; although, with his restlessness and intense curiosity, we are sure it won’t be the last one. The free spirit of Raúl Pérez works alongside his niece and nephew Nerea Pérez and César Márquez in this project as a homage to his late father by giving the winery the same name with which he used to market his wines: La Vizcaína de Vinos. They have made a strong commitment to local varieties, bringing out their typicity, and focussing on old vines, which are the best way to produce wines with local character, according to Raúl.

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

  • Wine Tasting Notes:
    • Colour
      Picota cherry red / carmine glints / clean / bright
    • Bouquet
      Intense / fresh / fruit aromas / candied fruit
    • Palate
      Light / fresh / good acidity / balanced / smooth
  • Alcohol content: 13,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 14ºC and 16ºC
  • Drink now or keep until 2022.

Las Gundiñas 2016
Front and back

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