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Calling the far western appellations of the Iberian Peninsula home, Mencia was once only deemed capable of producing simple and light red wines. But post-phylloxera growers only planted this variety on low, fertile plains, which produced high yields and uncomplicated finished wines. The recent rediscovery of the ancient, abandoned vines planted on rugged hillsides of deep schist has unveiled the potential of Mencia and added discredit to its old reputation. Primarily found in the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras regions of Spain and in the Dão of Portugal (where it is called Jaen), Mencia is an early ripening, low acid grape that can produce wines of great concentration, complexity and ageability.
In the Glass
The best Mencia possess characters such as raspberry, red currant, boysenberry, pomegranate, black licorice, spice cake, black pepper, Asian spice and crushed gravel. Some styles remain light and fruit dominant while the more serious versions, aged in new oak, will be more complex and concentrated.
Excellent with all manner of meat dishes: Steak au Poivre, corned beef, charcuterie, game, carne asada, etc, Mencia will also work with many vegetarian dishes such as grilled portabello, mushroom risotto, wild rice pilaf and smoked tofu.
Never had Mencia? Well if you like Pinot Noir and other aromatic reds (like Gamay), definitely investigate Mencia. Many affordable options abound as well as higher-end, more complex versions. Often the latter contain other varieties for adding depth and complexity, or come from the extremely old vines.
- Pinot Noir361
- Cabernet Sauvignon317
- Bordeaux Red Blends170
- Other Red Blends153
- Rhône Blends79
- Other Red Wine22
- Cabernet Franc19
- Petite Sirah15
- Tuscan Blends13
- Nero d'Avola2
- Petit Verdot2
Bodegas Avancia Valdeorras Mencia 2014Mencia from Valdeorras, Spain
Bodegas Triton Mencia 2014Mencia from Spain
Vinos Valtuille Pago de Valdoneje Roble Mencia 2014Mencia from Bierzo, Spain
La Vizcaina Las Gundinas Tinto 2014Mencia from Bierzo, Spain
La Vizcaina La Poulosa Tinto 2014Mencia from Bierzo, Spain
A Portela Mencia 2014Mencia from Valdeorras, Spain