Bodegas y Vinedos Luna Beberide Bierzo Paixar Mencia 2003
70 hectares of vines are planted between 450 and 900 meters, on south facing slopes in calcerous clay or decomposed slate. Vines range in age from 20 years for foreign grapes to 60 years for Mencia. 5 Hectare are used for experimental vineyards looking at how foreign grapes take to Bierzo’s climate; they are planted with about 30 varieties including Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Macabeo, Albariño and Sauvignon Blanc. No herbicides or pesticides are used on the vineyards. The philosophy of the winery is to produce wines based on quality of and respect for the land, primarily from native grapes along with grapes from other parts of the world.
Winemaking starts with all grapes being hand harvested into 18 kilo boxes. Careful cluster sorting, eliminating unsound bunches continues the push toward quality. All varietals are fermented separately with native yeasts prior to aging in oak barrels. All of the wines are bottled unfiltered.
One of the few northwestern Spanish regions with a focus on a red variety, Bierzo, part of Castilla y León, is home to the flowery and fruity Mencia grape. Mencia produces balanced and bright red wines full of strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, baking spice, pepper and black licorice. The well-drained soils of Bierzo are slate and granite.
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. And yet Mencia once suffered from a poor reputation and deemed capable of producing simple and light red wines. Post-phylloxera growers would grow this variety on low, fertile plains, which produced high yields and uncomplicated finished wines. Somm Secret—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.