From: Castilla y Leon, Spain
Taste: This red wine may look humble, but it’s an extremely delicious, red-fruited Mencia that incorporates ripe raspberry, undercurrents of black currant, hints of smoky cedar, mandarin orange zest, and baking spice. This fruit medley follows to the palate, where they’re wrapped in silky smooth, juicy tannins with baking spice and a touch of herbal highlights.
Pairing: Like other punchy reds, Mencía is an ideal wine to pair with food. Shy of fish, it pairs well with pretty much any protein. Cured meats are particularly well matched to this wine. Try having a glass of Mencía with some pastrami, corned beef, salami, or pepperoni. BBQ, spiced meats including kebabs or gyros, stews (including pork and beans— check out the recipe inspired by this below), braises, and empanadas are all fantastic options for matching this wine.
Braised Pork in Orange Sauce (Carne de Puerco a la Naranja)
Recipe from Kenneth Gardnier
Adapted by Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Updated Oct. 11, 2023
About. Vinos de Arganza is a dynamic young winery in Toral de los Vados just south of Villafranca del Bierzo in the heart of the Bierzo region. It was established in 2000 when it produced its first young wines, followed by its first Crianza and Reserva in 2003. It is a family-run winery owned by Victor Robla, a well-respected and devoted winemaker in Bierzo. They own 20 hectares of their own vineyards and hold long-term contracts with selected vineyard owners. Alongside his wife, Angeles Varela, whose family has winemaking roots dating back to the 15th century, the main objective of the winery is to make the most of the terroir, producing wines from the fruit of old vines while utilizing both modern and traditional methods to create wines of both old and new world characteristics.
El Bierzo today is possibly one of the most exciting wine regions in Spain, and the Mencia grape, indigenous to the region, is the star red grape, while Godello, with its floral, ripe fruit and green apple characteristics, is the major quality white grape variety.
Characteristically, Mencia has delicious red and black fruit flavors with tones of graphite terroir, which makes these wines so special. The Godello, despite its small production, has been attracting attention and loyalty among producers and consumers alike. DO
Bierzo is located northwest of Castile and León province and covers just under 4000 ha of vineyards, some over 100 years old.
Even though vine cultivation can be traced back to the ancient Greek inhabitants, the Romans were the first to develop agriculture and introduce new crops, including Vitis Vinifera vines, and new technology, such as the Roman plow. However, the greatest expansion of viticulture was related to the growth of the monasteries, especially the Cistercian order, during the Middle Ages. The low altitude, ranging from 500m to 650m, helps to prevent late frosts and means that the grape harvest is usually about one month earlier than in Castile.
Unfamiliar with the varietal? Check out this awesome article.
How Mencía Became Spain’s Breakout Star
By Noah Chichester of SevenFifty Daily, published September 20, 2023
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