Pittacum Tinto Bierzo Do 2005
Bodegas Pittacum was purchased several years ago by Terras Gauda who were looking to find a red wine with distinctive personality. The winery is located in Arganza, a town of longstanding vine-growing and wine-making heritage, nestled in the beautifully hilly landscape of the Bierzo region. Alfredo Marques Calva, the technical director of Pittacum, is both artist and artisan, constantly researching and experimenting in the winery. He is equally passionate about food, and a visit to his winery might include a lunch of tuna belly with superb pimentos, air-dried beef or slow cooked roast kid washed down with plenty of Pittacum. The Bierzo Tinto, made with the Mencia grape, is sourced from 50-90 year-old vineyards, located on poor slate soils so as carefully to force the process of ripening. Organic fertilisers are used and green practices are employed throughout the vineyard to ensure the health of the vines. The grapes are screened on a selection bench and then aged in a mixture of American and French oak for four months. Once the timing of the picking of the different plots has been decided, the teams of grape-pickers make the first selection on the vine. Only the healthiest, ripest bunches are packed into 14-kilogram boxes, to prevent them from splitting or becoming bruised. They are then sent straight to the winery, where they arrive in perfect condition, ready to be processed. The delivery area outside the winery is where the boxes are received on pallets and unloaded one by one onto the selection bench, where any below-standard bunches that happen to have slipped through are promptly removed. The selective extraction of tannins is carried out with manual cap-plunging, pumping-over and long macerations. Every day during the barrelling the wines are tasted, and with the aid of analytical monitoring of polyphenol compounds, the appropriate time for removal is determined. Next, the grape skins are pressed in a vertical press working at low pressure-important if the wine is to be of optimal quality. Now is the time for malolactic fermentation, part of which is done in stainless-steel vats and the rest in oak casks. After malolactic fermentation - and still without having undergone any kind of filtering or clarifying - the wine is moved to the aging casks. Different oak sources and different vat curing levels to obtain the best results for each type of wine. The casks are located in a stone farmhouse, sheltered from sunlight and at ideal temperature and humidity level, for as long as necessary to reveal the potential of each harvest and characteristics of each type of wine. After aging, the wine is clarified with egg white and then coarsely filtered, bottled and stored. The wine is intense cherry-red colour with a striking purplish rim, very clean and brilliant. It is marked by a complex bouquet, with a wide range of aromas including red fruits (blackberry, raspberry), liquorice and mineral tones, pleasant woody hints, spices - pepper and oregano - and an agreeable backdrop redolent of smoked cocoa. Warm in the mouth, with a significant concentration of fruit, dense and fleshy and sweet tannin it is a tasty wine to be savoured, with a persistent finish and retronasal qualities, plus pleasant balsamic resonance. The wines are sensitive and true to the vintage. 2002 is a wine of bright fruit and delicious acidity, whereas 2003 had richer colour, sweeter fruit and more tannin. 2004 is stylistically between the two. Each wine, however, demonstrates the individuality and expressiveness of the Mencia grape.
Remarkable ruby color, hot nose with notes of black pepper, wet dirt and leather, full body with incredibly smooth tannins that just keep evolving in the back of the palette. Chocolate, huckleberry and subtle notes of oak, well balanced, lengthy finish with notes of cream, burnt orange peel and blackberries.
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