Yes you have not heard of mencíaDon’t feel weird because, although it is one of the oldest grapes – in fact, it arrived in northern Spain during the Roman Empire and vines have even been found in medieval monasteries – it disappeared from the map for a time.
Five designations of origin of Galician wines that go beyond Albariño
Currently, most of the vineyards are distributed from the Castilian area of León, protected by the DO Bierzo, to Galicia, where we find mencías in the DO of Monterrei, Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and even Ribeiro.
Halfway between the juicy cabernet franc and two varieties of the Portuguese DO from the Douro and from Dao, calls patorra and alfrocheiro, Mencía has its own personality, and it is a lot, both in the color, intense, sometimes dark blue almost black, passing through the nose, where the aromas of violets and wild fruits tend to be mixed, passing through the mouth, powerful at the same time as velvety and fruity.
Yes, red, because usually have more than 14% alcohol by volume, so it is necessary to soak them with the most varied foods, as it goes with meats, with sausages like botillo, with cheeses, with pizza or with Galician octopus, of course.
We have tried some spectacular ones like Paixar 2017 and Art Luna Beberide 2017, or Almázcara Majara Syrup 2018but, for less than 10 euros, we are left with the following, of impeccable quality-price.
From DO Bierzo
1. Baltos 2017, from the Dominio de Tares Winery
At the beginning, it is a bit alcoholic on the nose, because it is very expressive, but soon it becomes fruity, also on the palate, where it becomes interesting due to the juanola flavor, which makes it balsamic, round, fine and elegant; It has a light layer but intense flavor. 14% Vol and 8.90 euros.
A wonderful local wine from the Luna Beberide winery, in the Valdetruchas and Villafranca del Bierzo area, with a light barrel aging, very aromatic, with red fruits and balsamic edges and a caressing long and mineral mid palate and a finish with a little acid and playful. 14% Vol and 10 euros.
A curious wine, with a hint of sloes, which is interesting and cheerful, despite its deep density, and with a very long, imposing aftertaste, for those who seek wines with a lot of character and intensity. 14.5% Vol and about 7 or 8 euros.
Four. Valdoneje payment
A vinazo of Valtuille de Abajo, from the Vinos Valtuille winery, which deserves the high score it has on lists such as Parker’s. We continue with wild fruits but it is also a little smoky and balsamic on the nose, and in the mouth it is elegant, very well structured, long in the aftertaste and with acidity and tannins in just the right measure. 14% Vol and about 7 euros.
It seems that José Antonio García wanted to show with this must what Mencía is like in its purest Bercian essence, specifically from the Valtuille de Abajo vineyards, in Villafranca del Bierzo. Blackberries and raspberries, both in the nose and in the mouth, where it has a very pleasant, subtle and not strident mid palate. 13.5% Vol and 7.90 euros.
A heavy Mencía from 60 to 100-year-old vineyards with 12 months in the barrel. A sweet, fruity red with perfect tannins, a balance between red fruit and wood, and lots of fresh strawberry, which makes it very light and easy to drink. 14.5% Vol and 9 euros.
Our favorite Galician mencías
A rarity of DO Ribeiro to fall in love and fall in love with: velvety, juicy, glyceric, with the tear running down the glass with the same sensuality with which it enters the mouth. Of course, it is a great tribute to the founder of the Cunqueiro winery, whose art, clearly, he has learned one generation after another during the last 100 years, from 1920 to 2020. And, although it is a combination of native varieties of the DO Ribeiro, which we talk about in this report, Mencía predominates, but nuanced with honors. 12% Vol and 9.90 euros.
8. Ruxe Ruxe
From the wine line Tolo do xisto, is a collaboration of the Catalan winery Coca i Fitó with the Galician winemaker Andrea Obenza, within the DO Ribeira Sacra, in which the heroic viticulture it is more than evident by its minerality and even salinity on the tip of the tongue. It is very sweet, very broad, with a very interesting taste of violets and that typical peppery touch of Mencía at the end that takes you back to the first aromatic hit on the nose. 14% Vol and about 10 euros.
The first of the wines from the Ponte da Boga winery, considered the best representation of the potential of the queen of the DO Ribeira Sacra, the Mencía grown on the terraces on the slopes of the Miño and Sil rivers. Certainly, it is a super-fresh red, with the characteristic touch of pepper, very fruity, highlighting the blackberry and violet flavors; very nice, round, smooth, not at all sharp and very well polished. 12.5% Vol and 9 euros.
10. Maruxa 2019
It pays homage to the mother of the founder of the Virgen de Galir winery, she probably gave her so much love that that is why it is so rich, powerful and interesting on the nose; Because it differs from the others due to its minerality and breadth on the palate, it asks you for a large drink to enjoy it more at every angle. It is a great Mencía of the DO Valdeorras, with 13% Vol and for 6.85 euros.
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