Dominio de Tares, Cepas Viejas, Mencia, Bierzo DO, Bierzo Alto, Leon, Spain 2008, 14% C$30

Purchased at a local specialty wine store, this is a great wine made from the Mencia varietal, aka ‘Jaen’. Mencia is grown primarily in North Western Spain, and especially in Bierzo, an up-and-coming DO. Ironic to say that as of course they’ve been making wine there for centuries – but it’s only in the past 70 years or so that improved plantings, densities, canopy management systems and winery hygiene has meant a positive change for the intensities, colours and flavours produced in these wines.

A clear and bright wine, it is deep purple with legs noted.
On the nose, clean with medium + intense aromas of black, black, black fruit – damson plum, blackberry, cassis, black currant – with a meaty undertone, violets and sweet spice. A developing wine.

It’s dry with high alcohol at 14%, medium acidity and slightly grippy and green tannins that at the same time feel dusty. Medium body complements medium plus flavour intensity of more fresh, full and extremely ripe black fruit – plums, black currants and berries with a hit of cranberry fruit. Definite meat and tobacco tones dominate accompanied by light forest floor and leaves. Light spice, black pepper and a medium plus finish delivers this wine.

A solid ‘very good’ wine – alcohol is high but integrated and not overwhelming. The oak is seamlessly combined. Fruit is full, ripe and complex, accompanied by a backbone of secondary characteristics. A longer finish would have pushed it into ‘outstanding’. Drinking now, but could be kept for up to 3 years to help relax the tannin.

Go see Bierzo – buy some Mencia. Me? I’m off to enjoy tapas at a local Spanish restaurant – If I can’t go all the way to Bierzo…Enjoy.

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