This is a brilliant wine, made from the northern Spanish grape variety of Mencia. It's a gorgeously fresh, vibrant and enghaging wine, but comes loaded with dark red fruit, silky tannins, integrated oak-spices and a long and refreshing finish. A delicious wine on its own, it really comes to life with even the suggestion of food: from pork belly to pork scratchings, the wine has such freshness that it'll balance any but the most spicy of cuisine.
If you haven't had wine from the Mencia grape before, please try this one! It's a delicious example from one of the grape's homeplaces, Valdeorras, which is in the north of Spain, sitting right on top of Portugal. This also sees 8 months of barrel aging and represents stunning value for money.
Mencia is a grape variety in the ascendancy and even reading the above should give you some idea of why: the food-matching capabilities are immense and the freshness of palate and flavour profile put it right into the middle of modern trends without any effort at all. In fact, the change in modern preferences is almost best-suited to this variety because it doesn't have to do anything differently. A bit like wines made from Dolcetto in Piemonte.
Only, a little prettier! It can often resemble Pinot Noir - low tannins, freshness and fruity aromatics... but it certainly has its own gutsiness - alcohol levels are higher and can be sustained by flavour intensity - and a very particular mouth-engaging texture that really makes your mouth water. In a good way, of course!
This Mencia comes from a young winery that was established in 2002 in the village of Éntoma, with 40 hectares of vineyards. They make three levels of wines: village, single-vineyard and Grand Cru, each of which have no legal meaning, it's just that they want to give reference to other great regions and some sense of classification.
This is from the Pagos level - or Cru, in French terms - meaning that it comes from one vineyard. In fact this comes from four separate plts from various vineyards, but the quality level is suggestive of a single site.., I think! These are chosen for soil quality and the ability for the grape variety to shine through because of the soils each possesses. Made from hand picked grapes , this wine is carefully made by chilling the grape must, destemming the bunches but with no grape crushing, in order to bet preserve freshness and varietal typicity. After fermentation the wine is aged for 8 months in both American and French oak barrels. That's a big investment for a wine at this price point.
The last interesting bit (well, it's interesting for us...) is that this small, provincial winery that is really very young, caught the attention of the wine world by its simple vision and the brilliant, clear and vibrant qualities of the wines that they produce. So much so that in 2017 our friends in CUNE began the process to buy the winery. And that's how we came across it ourselves! Under their guidance, the international markets have been opened and the resources needed to maintain amazing vineyards and winery facilities have been made fully available.
Their differentiation of wine levels is about place, and as Antonio Galloni notes, "Place matters, and that's why I'm so happy to see the approach taken by CVNE from Rioja after they bought Virgen del Galir". Which is nice.
Style: Vibrant, Silky, Mineral, Medium Bodied, Juicy, Intense, Herbaceous, Fruity, Fresh, Elegant, Crunchy, Complex, Bright, Balanced
Best food matches: Warm Salads, Tuna, Trout, Tapas, Steak, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Pork, Mature Cheeses, Hard Cheeses, Beef, Barbecue