Thursday, 30 May 2013

Mencia, the heart of Bierzo

If anyone has the impression I am not enjoying my very personal pilgrimage, please, get that idea out of your mind. I think I have not enjoyed more in my life (or maybe I have). This is just such a great experience.

Today, my day started out in Ponferrada after a not so pleasant stay at a decadent, horrible service hotel. This morning I thought my predisposition for the day was not the best, but I could not have been more mistaken.

At 10 I had the first visit scheduled at Castro Ventosa winery. I arrived a bit late and I just hate being late, so no, not a good start. After apologising, I was shown the winery on bottling day. This one is a very small family-run winery, producing around one hundred and fifty thousand bottles out of 65 hectares of old vineyards. 

In the last five days I have seen the oldest vines of the trip. Here and in Toro, this is given great importance due to the low yields and high concentration of the fruit characteristics in the grape.

By 10:30 I was tasting three wines directly from the vats and without the possibility of using a spittoon. LOL. I guess from that moment on, my day could only be fantastic.

After this visit, I went to the wine council to get a full list of DO Bierzo wineries and called them to see if it was possible to visit them. I got some visits confirmed and since my next visit was at 16:00, I decided to have a long lunch. And I did! At Moncloa. The food was super yummy and the wine... well, what can I say?

This was only the starter, do you really want to see more? I do not know if you will be able to bear it... 

 Sorry, I did warn you.

After my very much enjoyed lunch, time for my next visit. 

At Bodegas Godelia I arrived early (to make up for the previous delay), got a brief introduction and was toured around the winery, really, Spanish wineries have the latest technology, it is a great pride the way that wines are produced in this country.

After the visit, the tasting... Hhhhmmmm, yes, a golden brooch. Josep, the oenologist, arrived at that point and we got engaged in a very interesting conversation, starting off with vineyard management, the conversation covered many subjects, all very interesting where he gave me great ideas and information, ten minutes before six (yes, two and a half hours later), I got the reminder that my next visit was due at six. Oh dear, time flies when you are having fun. I did not even have the time to finish the tasting, but he gave me a bottle of their premium wine for my very personal wine tasting. Thanks Josep, it has been my great pleasure.

Last visit for the day to Pittacum, who's wines I had met before. Javier was my guide this time. He was an absolute star, very knowledgable and another wine lover. What a pleasure! His approach was from a very technical point of view that I greatly appreciated. I must say, it feels really good when being an amateur with professional aspirations to be considered a fellow wine expert. Oh yes!

With Javier we ended up tasting directly from the vat, the ready to bottle Pittacum Aurea. Lovely wine. The oak, acidity, tannins, alcohol, so well integrated, resulting in a deliciously round wine.

Being only little over a hundred kilometres from Ourense, tomorrow will must likely be the end of the journey home. It is a bit sad, but I think I am ready for landing and start with the phase B. Time to sort out domestic issues and transfer into a business plan all my thoughts, ideas and experiences.

During the well over three thousand kilometres of road, the initial draft idea has finished the fermentation and it is in the maturation phase. I have reached the point where I know where I want to be, and now, I just need to figure out the 'how to get there' part. My next journey.

Salud and sweet (wine) dreams ;)

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