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A Portela Mencia 2014

Mencia from Valdeorras, Spain
  • JS91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Dark purple. Powerful aromas of candied blackberry, blueberry and licorice, complicated by violet and cracked pepper. Lush, intensely flavored and smooth, offering spicy dark berry and cherry compote flavors enlivened by a subtle floral nuance. Finishes sappy and long, with resonating spiciness, a hint of licorice and chewy tannins.

Critical Acclaim

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JS 91
James Suckling
A pure mencía that exhibits aromas reminiscent of dried flowers, sliced strawberries and some burnt oranges to boot. The palate is loaded with upfront fruit, plenty of fine tannins, a good backbone of acidity and a clean finish. Unoaked and made from 30-year-old, pure mencia. Drink now.
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A Portela

A Portela

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A Portela, Spain
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A unique wine produced with the rare Mencia grape (pronounced Men-THEE-ah). Mencía only grows in North East Spain. In this case, A Portela comes from Valdeorras, which is one of the most inland wine regions of Galicia. During Roman times Valdeorras was known for its gold, hence its name, the valley of Gold. The vines are tended in granite and slate soil. The high elevation of this precious small part of Galicia produces Mencía grapes that are different from other Galician wine regions, flavors tend to be more uplifted, more floral, brighter, and very pretty! A Portela is all unoaked to emphasize the purity and delicate flavors and aromas of this grape. It is produce from estate own grapes that are organically grown. A Portela signifies the doorstep to heaven. It is also the name of the high elevation hill of 5 hectare (12 acre) located in the town of Larouco (province of Ourense), where the Mencía vines that make this profound mineral wine come from. A Portela is a joint venture between the Sharon family and CVA.

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Valdeorras

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Just to the south of Bierzo, the steeply terraced Valdeorras region is a respected source of both red and white wines. Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Mencía are the principal red varieties while Godello and Palomino compose the majority of this region's whites.

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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.

Food Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

ONYLSAPOR75_14_2014 Item# 159475