Luckily, in Spain we have a wide biodiversity that allows us to enjoy countless wines. One of the grapes that is developing an extraordinary potential lately is the Mencia, so today we are going to talk a little about it.
Located in the Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, the Mencia is a unique grape variety, particular, elegant and rustic at the same time. Its pilgrimage begins with its particular road from Santiago, crossing the Bierzo, the Ribera Sacra, Valdeorras and Monterey, until arriving to the north of Portugal. It is very special because it is grown only in these regions.
Although it has been wanted to relate with the Cabernet Franc, recent studies based on the DNA carried out by the University of Santiago de Compostela and of the Station of Viticulture and Oenology of Galicia have discovered that it is descendant of Galician Merenzao and direct descendant of the French variety Trousseau.
We can find the maximum expression of the Mencia in the Bierzo (Castile and Leon) and Ribera Sacra (Galicia).
The Mencia grape in the Bierzo
In the Bierzo is the predominant grape variety, adapting perfectly to its temperate microclimate, which combines the humidity that comes from Galicia and the drier climate that comes from Castile. It has a mild rainfall and a low altitude that generally avoids late frost.
The wines made with Mencía del Bierzo show intensity, energy and vitality. A clear example of these wines is the Pago de Valdoneje Viñas Viejas, with an intense, lactic, floral nose, with notes of ripe blueberries, but with a fresh and sweet spice at the same time reminiscent of the nail. In the mouth it expresses the energy of the earth and at the same time we find a creamy texture. It leaves us an energetic and saline finish, which will make us salivate and not lose the desire to drink.
The Mencia grape in the Ribera Sacra
For its part, the Ribeira Sacra, despite having a very similar climate to that of Bierzo, is somewhat more humid and warm. Its difference is in the soil and in its orography, with more vertical and extreme slopes. The wines of Mencía behave in the same way as their “terroir”: more vertical and direct, lighter, sharp and saline, even in the nose, where we find very marked notes of salt stone.
If you have not drunk any Mencía wine yet, we strongly recommend that you do with some as soon as possible, as it is a variety of grapes that fall in love, able to captivate for its authenticity and character to any wine lover.
“Otoño en el Bierzo” – Gabriel Fdez.