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Castro Candaz A Boca do Demo Ribeira Sacra Tinto 2016

Mencia from Spain
  • W&S94
0% ABV
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  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

"A Boca do Demo" is a blend of mostly Mencia, with Domingo Pérez (Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Caiño.

Whole cluster fermentation in large oak vats. 30-day maceration followed by one year of aging in 1500-liter foudre. Bottled without fining or filtration.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 94
Wine & Spirits
This grows at a 2.5-acre walled vineyard in Chantada planted in 1950. The wine is austere, tight and compact in its red fruit, without much to show in terms of aromas. But give it a day of air and you’ll find a delicious weave of red fruit and ferrous, mineral notes. Decant it for pulled pork.
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Castro Candaz

Castro Candaz

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Castro Candaz, Spain
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Castro Candaz is a new project from Raúl Pérez and Rodri Méndez, the duo behind Forjas de Salnés in the Rías Baixas. While Raúl’s two most famous Ribeira Sacra bottlings, La Penitencia and El Pecado, come from the Amandi district of the appellation, the fruit for these wines comes from Chantada. In Chantada, the Sil River widens, the slopes become less steep and the soils feature more granite than slate. It is also notably cooler than the Amandi area. “If we were going to try to make wines here like El Pecado and La Penitencia,” Raúl explains, “we would harvest later due to the lower temperatures. But the idea of this project is to keep the wines at 13% alcohol or less, so we actually harvest earlier than we do in Amandi.”

The bodega is another of Raúl’s “fake-it-until-you-make-it” facilities. “The guy who owns it refuses to sell it to me,” Raúl says. “But he also doesn’t charge me rent. It’s very curious.” There is no de-stemmer here, nor would the meager electricity be sufficient to power one, so the fermentations proceed with 100% whole clusters. The “village wine”, Finca El Curvado, is produced from two sites with an average vine age of 45-70 years. There is Mencía, to be sure, but also significant amounts of Alicante Bouschet and Domingo Pérez (one of the dizzying array of names used here for Trousseau). There is a 30-day maceration followed by fermentation in large oak vats and one year of aging in one 1500L foudre and some smaller French barrels. The top wine, A Boca do Demo, is from a single vineyard of 70-80 year-old vines with a similar varietal breakdown and élevage.

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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.

Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Rioja also produces rich, nutty whites from the local Viura grape.

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.

Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez.

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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.

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