More from Bierzo in north west of Spain. The district used to be known for light, juicy-jammy and a bit sour and volatile wines. But with new players and a focus on lower yields and old Mencia vines that image is about to change permanently!
At the same time more and more producers are stepping up and showing the world what can be done with the grape. Take Alvaro Palacios, for example, the man who shot Priorat to stardom (read more on Palacios here!). He is now involved in Descendientes de J Palacios with his nephew Ricardo Perez – and the domaine is one of the most interesting in the area.
It was long believed that the Mencia-grape was related to Cabernet Franc – and as I’ve written earlier here in EricssonUncorked and my swedish blog Uppkorkat – the wines can be reminiscent of both Cabernet Franc and Barbera (or a blend of the two!) with quite pronounced acidity and spicy dark fruit.
DNA-testing has instead shown that it is identical to Jaen that is quite common in middle and western Spain and portugese wine region Dão. And you can find Jaen/Mencia in spanish districts like Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and Liébana.
Here are two more great Mencia wines from Bierzo!
Petalos 2008 (around €15)
From Descendientes de J Palacios. The wine is made from grapes that come from vines that are between 40 and 90 years old.
Blue-red colour. Spicy aromas with hints of dark berries, oak, leather and herbs. Good concentration on the palate with red and dark berries, liqourice/salmiak, herbs and tobacco. Great value!
Tilenus Pagos de Posada 2004 (around €22)
This wine is made by Bodegas Estefanía and the average age of the vines is 90 years! Low yields, hand harvesting, fermentation in stainless steel and 18 months on french oak!
Dense dark blue-red colour. Warm and earthy smells with hints of game, dark berries, oak/vanilla, leather, dried fruits and spices. Medium-bodied very fresh (a bit acidic) taste of red and dark berries, leather, spices and oak. Good concentration on the palate with elements of chocolate and tobacco!