Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker-The Wine Advocate's correspondent in Spain, recently published a report about the regions of El Bierzo and Galicia. Both regions share some characteristics, but they also have some important differences.


Comprising a vineyard surface around 3,000 hectares, El Bierzo DO is currently one of the most dynamic and quality-oriented Designations of Origin in the whole of Spain.


In the last years, and in contrast to the bureaucratic inertia that systematically hinders the development of some prominent Spanish wine regions, the Regulatory Board at the El Bierzo DO has taken important steps directed at promoting the singularity of the region's terroir and improving the quality of its wines. Two of those steps are worth mentioning.


First, the Regulatory Board has lowered the quantity of admitted yields per hectare. Second, they have set in motion a zonification project to categorize terroirs and locate exceptional vineyards, with the aim that in a not too distant future wines will be identified by its town, estate or even plot of origin.


El Bierzo's most important red variety is Mencía. As for the white wines, most are made from Godello.


These two varieties are also prominent in Galicia.


Spain's westernmost region has an extremely rich heritage of indigenous varieties, including red grapes such as Caíño, Espadeiro, Loureiro and Merenzao, and white ones such the well-known Albariño, and the lesser known Treixadura o Loureira Blanca.


Here is our selection of wines with high Parker scores coming from both regions.


Our first wine is a classic red from El Bierzo. Pétalos del Bierzo 2014 is a delicious blend of Mencía and several white varieties produced by Descendientes de J.Palacios.


El Castro de Valtuille 2011, which is drinking beautifully now, is a single varietal, flavourful Mencía. Produced by Castro Ventosa.


Casar Godello 2014, a single varietal Godello by the Casar de Burbia winery, shows the quality of El Bierzo's white wines.


Westward to Galicia, Bastión de la Luna 2013 is an atlantic, delicate red wine made from CaíñoEspadeiro, Loureiro and Mencía by Forjas del Salnés.


A single varietal Mencía, Tolo do Xisto 2013, by Coca i Fitó, comes from Ribeira Sacra, the land of heroic viticulture.


Still in Ribeira Sacra, Lalama 2011 is a red wine produced by Dominio do Bibei from a blend of native varieties, such as Mencía, Mouratón and Brancellao.


As for the white wines, Leirana Albariño 2014 is a single varietal Albariño, delicate and fresh, crafted by Forjas del Salnés.


Viña Mein 2014, is produced from a complex blend of white grapes by the Viña Mein winery in the Ribeiro DO


Finally, Louro 2015, by Rafael Palacios, one of Galicia's best white wine producers, combines the many virtues of both Godello and Treixadura in Valdeorras.


Until our next post,

Just enjoy wine.