Meet Emilio Rodriguez. He makes wine at Bodegas Terras Gauda — primarily white Albarino — and Pittacum — primarily from the red Mencia grape. Together, these two Spanish wineries (“bodegas” to those in the know) pack a one-two punch, representing two exceptional, crisp whites plus one of the best Spanish reds I’ve ever tasted. If you happen to stumble upon Pittacum’s Aurea –only 7,500 bottles were produced — I highly encourage you to snap it up.
Over lunch at San Francisco’s Piperade, we tasted the four latest releases from these two wineries and got an update on winemaking in the Rias Baixas and Bierzo regions of Spain (both are in the northwestern most part of the country).
Sweetbreads were served.
Tasting Notes – Bodegas Terras Gauda and Pittacum
2009 Terras Gauda Albarino / $20 / B+ / An unaged, and no-malolactic white that has a surprisingly creamy butteriness; bright acidity and citrus on this one, with touches of lemon in the finish alongside a bit of earth.
2009 Terras Gauda Rias Baixas O Rosal / $24 / A- / 70% Albarino, 20% Loureira, and 10% Caino Blanco — Terras Gauda grows 95% of the world’s production of Caino Blanco, and it all pretty much goes into this wine, so if you want to experience it, you better come here. The added grapes give this white a much more interesting profile, with some zip on the tongue and a touch of peachy, Viognier-like character. Racy, but with a well-structured body.
2006 Pittacum Mencia Bierzo / $24 / A- / Solid Mencia, which is normally not a world-class red. This one’s a bit dusty, with flavors of roasted meat and smoke on the nose. Very lean tannins and easy to drink young.
2006 Pittacum Aurea Mencia Bierzo / $52 / A+ / Very New World in structure, like a fine California Merlot. Very silky, with mellow tannins and an intense richness, packed with berry and laced with light smoke notes. Perfect balance. I instantly fell in love with this wine and demand another glass of it, posthaste!