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Bodegas Avancia Valdeorras Mencia 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Jorge was the first broker to introduce Godello into the United States, and for many years, was the only merchant offering a wine made from this unique grape. Jorge always dreamed of having his own Godello project, and Bodegas Avancia is the result of this dream. Bodegas Avancia produces the finest Godello wines in all of Spain.
In 2016, Robert Parker, Jr. stated “One of my favorite wineries in Spain is Bodegas Avancia. This is a small estate of roughly 23 acres, dry farmed (a characteristic of all of the selections of Jorge Ordóñez), with organic viticulture. Their specialty is working with the Godello grape, which may well be Spain’s finest indigenous white grape. It has the texture of a Chardonnay, but with crisp, mineral and floral notes in its aromatics. Avancia is certainly the top producer of this intriguing and delicious dry white.” Jorge also selected D.O. Valdeorras due to its unique conditions for growing Mencía, Galicia’s most important red grape. The combination of slate soils, high altitudes, old vines, and warmer climate compared to the rest of Galicia provide Valdeorras with the best terroir for growing Mencía.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place primary emphasis on its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally hot and dry. In the center of the country lies a vast, arid plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought.
Ribera del Duero is gaining ground with its single varietal Tempranillo wines, recognized for their concentration of fruit and opulence. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, specializes in bold, full-bodied red blends of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate.
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.