Wine Guide

Raul Perez & Rodridgo Mendez As Covas Pinot Noir


The Mendez family are tightly woven into the fabric of Galician wine. The family operate the Rias Baixas old-guard winery, Do Ferreiro. In the 1970’s, when most grape growing were grubbing up vines in favour of the increasingly popular Albariño, they recommitted to the region’s indigenous grape varieties. In 2005 Rodrigo Mendez, keen to revitalize parcels of old vines, created Forjas del Salnés. The winery was named after the ironworks set up by his grandfather, Francisco Méndez. His mission was to replant the nearly extinct red grape varieties of the Val do Salnes, and bottle white wines in tune with Galicia’s traditional winemaking culture. Thanks to his connections, he was able to discover some exceptionally old abandoned Albariño vines. To aid him in his quest, Rodrigo is joined at Forjas del Salnés by famed winemaker Raúl Pérez. These wines manage to capture lightning in a bottle, and successfully showcase the heights that traditional Galician wines can reach.

“There is not a lot of Pinot Noir in the Rías Baixas zone. In fact, the only one I know is the 2018 As Covas Pinot Noir, produced with grapes from 10-year-old vines planted on granite soils. It fermented with 50% full clusters in open-top oak barrels and matured in used barriques for one year. This is the palest of all the reds, and it has an herbal and balsamic twist in the varietal and spicy nose. It is more like the other reds from the zone than Pinots from elsewhere. This is a collaboration with Raúl Pérez, who is the one in charge of enology here. The palate is medium-bodied and has fine tannins, perhaps a little thin in the mid-palate. Only 500 bottles were filled in March 2020. This is obviously sold without appellation of origin; Pinot Noir is not one of the grapes allowed by Rías Baixas. This wine will change in 2019, with a little more maceration and color.” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

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