Tim's Wine Tour Blog

Bierzo and back to Ribeiro

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From Monforte de Lemos we continued our voyage of Galician discovery by briefly nipping into Castilla y León and the ever exciting Bierzo region. I first toured here in 2014 and was impressed then by the local Mencía grape. Wine commentators around the world have become very excited by this area and our experience at Bodega Pittacum showed why.

Hosted by the wonderful Natasha, we received an in-depth understanding of the history of the region, the influence of the Romans and their gold mining activities, the exceptionally old bush trained Mencía vines and so much more! With a wealth of information absorbed we moved into the very attractive tasting room and settled into four quite superb wines. The Petit Pittacum at a mere 5.50 euros was amazing and the wines became increasingly complex as they were produced from older vines and received more oak ageing. 

Everyone came away with an enhanced understanding of Mencía and Bierzo and vowed to explore more.

From Pittacum it was a short hop to Cacabelos and the Moncloa de San Lazaro – an historic hotel and restaurant with a long history of providing shelter and food to the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

We tucked into a light snack lunch washed down with some more reds from Pittacum and some Godello from Raul Perez – one of the top winemakers in Spain.

Back to the hotel for a rest and then it was out for dinner at the Parador in Monforte. In a stunning room with panoramic views overlooking the town we settled into some delicious canapes with fizz, mussels in a creamy sauce, turbot, perfectly cooked veal and dreamily rich dessert.

And yet there was more to come on Sunday……

With late flights from Porto in the afternoon, we had time to drop into Pazo de Toubes, part of the Costeira group, for a visit and tapas lunch.

Carlos, the technical director of viticulture took us round the beautifully converted old Pazo (manor house) and discussed the philosophy of the wines. As we were now back in the Ribeiro, the focus was on Treixadura, Albariño and Mencía. The selection of wines showed a nice range of crisp clean styles through to richer, more oak aged styles – once again showing us the quality and diversity of this lesser known area.

Then the canapés arrived – absolutely fabulous grilled and fried prawns, sensational Iberico ham, cheeses, croquetas….the list went on.

Alas we scarcely did justice to all the wonderful food but it was sublime.

A delicious and picturesque end to our tour.