2018 Fedellos do Couto Bastarda, Galicia, Spain

Racy and lifted, with a red-fruit nose with lovely peppery notes and sour cherry fruit.



The Bastarda, locally Merenzao, a.k.a. Trousseau, is sourced from several plots on the granite soils of the Bibei valley quite close to the vineyards of Rafael Palacios in neighboring Valdeorras. How Trousseau got to this part of the Iberian peninsula remains somewhat of a mystery. Still, its prevalence here and across the border in Portugal dates back at least a couple of centuries. These vines are primarily 20 years old, with a small portion of fruit from 50-70-year-old vines grown in granite, schist, and sand at an elevation of 350–650 meters. The grapes are all hand harvested, whole cluster, natural yeast fermentation in stainless steel tanks, pigeage, 40-60 day maceration. The wine is then aged for 10 months in neutral 300-500L French oak barrels.


For generations, the Taboada family has owned the Pazo do Couto, an ancient manor dating to the 12th century that over the centuries has produced a wide array of agricultural products on the decomposed granite and schist soils at the southern and eastern end of the Ribeira Sacra in the sub-zones of Ribeiras do Sil and Quiroga-Bibei.

Luis Taboada, recognizing the value of his ancient, north- and east-facing vineyards, teamed up with viticulturalist Pablo Soldavini, a proponent of organic farming and winemakers Curro Bareño and Jesús Olivares to found Fedellos do Couto in 2011. Bareño and Olivares were the talented team behind Ronsel do Sil, one of the most heralded estates in Ribeira Sacra, but both began their career in the Sierra de Gredos, where they were close friends and colleagues of Dani Landi, Fernando Garcia, and Marc Isart. This association is obvious in their wines: elegant and nuanced but persistent and powerful.

The winemaking at Fedellos is minimalist: native co-fermentations, long, gentle macerations in concrete, neutral French oak barrels, or small fermentation bins with aging in concrete and/or various neutral French oak barrels and foudres, but mainly 500L demi-muids. Four wines are currently produced: Bastarda, Cortezada, and Lomba dos Ares and a field blend of white varieties, Conasbrancas.