A TASTING ROUND OF SPANISH WINES: TERRAS GAUDA
I discovered the wines of TERRAS GAUDA some years ago, during a fabulous tasting in the Netherlands. The renowned Dutch importer RÉSIDENCE Wijnimport was presenting a big number of wines from their huge assortment of quality wines. It was the beginning of a triple love story… It was love at the first sip with two white wines, the RÍAS BAIXAS ABADIA DE SAN CAMPIO (100% albariño) and the RÍAS BAIXAS O ROSAL (albariño + loureiro + caiño blanco), but also with the fantastic ALBARIÑO grape variety and of course, with the appellation RÍAS BAIXAS in the Spanish ‘Celt Iberian’ province of GALICIA. Some weeks ago, I received a nice tasting box directly from BODEGAS TERRAS GAUDA; it contained 3 whites and 3 reds. One of the whites was totally new for me, the 3 reds were well-known but I never tasted them before. It is always great to be able to discover new wines and even rediscover already known wines.
BODEGAS TERRAS GAUDA
The creation of the D.O. RÍAS BAIXAS appellation was an inspiration moment for the current chairman of TERRAS GAUDA Bodegas, José María Fonseca… By founding two companies, the Viñedos do Rosal and Adegas das Eiras, José María Fonseca started to realize a private dream, aiming to produce a high quality wine from albariño grapes and other native local varieties. From 1990 on, the first own vineyards were planted to achieve this noble goal. In the meantime, some good RÍAS BAIXAS were brought on the market under the TERRAS GAUDA label. It was produced from strictly selected grapes purchased from local growers. In 1991, the first 100% albariño wine was produced under the label ABADÍA DE SAN CAMPIO. Nowadays, both original companies merged and focused on the leading brand BODEGAS TERRAS GAUDA. To achieve the very best result for the 100% albariño wine and the O Rosal cuvee, the bodegas have been planting and following some 115 albariño clones in a special ‘kindergarten’ site. The best clones were selected after a long period of serious studies and micro-vinifications.
LA MAR, RÍAS BAIXAS 2010
This was for me a brand new wine. It is made from 85% caiño blanco, 10% albariño and 5% loureiro, which makes it absolutely interesting for any wine lover who doesn’t want to drink sauvignon blanc or chardonnay all his/her life… This wine is a discovering trip on its own… The appearance is light, clear and brilliant. The nose (tasted in June 2012) is amazing: very fresh and aromatic, offering a wide range of nuances, from wild, fresh green aromatic herbs, yellow stone and exotic fruit, some green gooseberry association, earthy tones and a hint of acacia honey… The aromatic complexity goes on in the mouth, very fresh, lively and juicy in the first place, then rich, full and well-structured, all the way to the long, clean, fresh and aromatic finish with a noticeable hint of minerality. Wow, that was quite a surprise! Very nice wine with a high gastronomic value, from seafood and fish to typical Celt Iberian (both sides of the border) dishes like ‘cataplana’ or casseroles with stewed pork meat and sea food… Good wine with character and complexity ***
ABADIA DE SAN CAMPIO, ALBARIÑO, RÍAS BAIXAS 2011
This is a 100% albariño wine, produced with selected and relatively later harvested grapes from the Goian vineyards. After 6 hours of cold maceration, the traditional fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks with temperature control. The yeasts used were a pre-batch of own vineyards ferments. Here again, brilliant and clear color. The nose is complex, with fresh citrus, a hint of exotic fruit, apricot and white fruit. On the palate, a perfect balance between lively, crispy freshness, round, warm and full ripe fruit aromas, a load of juiciness and a great, mouth filling structure. This is a really wonderful gastronomic wine, not so much for raw seashells to my opinion, but more for lukewarm oyster in a creamy wine sauce, crab, lobster, Spanish rice with shrimps, langoustines, white meat, chicken and/or sea fish… It might as well match with delicately spicy dishes from the Chinese cuisine (dim sum, deep-fried calamari, stir-fried scallops with Chinese vegetables, soft shell crabs…). Good wine with character and complexity ***
O ROSAL, RÍAS BAIXAS 2011
This is the flagship of the bodega, a cuvee of 3 native grapes: 70% albariño, 18% loureiro and 12% caiño blanco. All grapes are estate grown in the O Rosal valley, on the banks of the Miño River in Galicia. The harvest in 2011 took place under ideal conditions. The grapes were perfectly ripe and with a great balance between sugar and natural acidity. Each variety was separately cold macerated. The fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks after addition of a pre-batch of natural vineyard yeasts. Beautiful color, light gold with green shadows; the nose is highly expressive, with loads of yellow stone fruit (apricot, peach), citrus and exotic fruits, hints of white flowers and blossoms, some green aromatic herbs and a strange reminiscence of lovely old fashioned oven baked apple… Quite complex indeed, also on the palate: very fresh and clean attack followed by a mouth filling roundness in structure, juiciness and elegant mineral tones. Long, rich, clean and refreshing finish. Great wine for the better gastronomic work, think about ‘à la minute’ sautéed scallops and langoustine tails with some citrus butter and salt flakes (fleur de sel)… Also very suitable for lobster, crab, lukewarm oysters with a creamy albariño wine sauce. I would dare to serve it with tender but tasty white meat and even high quality poultry. Very good wine with character and complexity ****
(No*: wimpy wine, * nice wine, recommended, ** good wine with character, *** good wine with character and complexity, **** very good wine, ***** outstanding wine)