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Conde de Hervias Mencos 2009

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain
  • RP90
14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Ripe and round on the palate the wine explodes with aromas and flavors typical of this region. Flowers and violets capture the essential elements.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The entry-level 2009 Mencos is an unoaked cuvee of 100% Tempranillo. Aromas of earthy minerals, spice box, violets, cherry blossom, and blackberry inform the nose of a ripe, firm, savory red with good balance and length. It is an outstanding value meant for drinking over the next 5-6 years.
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Conde de Hervias

Conde de Hervias

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Conde de Hervias, Rioja, Spain
Conde De Hervias is a project by Iñigo Manso de Zuñiga Ugartechea. Iñigo owns prestigious plots of old vines in Rioja Alta surrounding his home in Torremontalvo. His family has been selling to the likes of Campo Viejo for many years. When we met he told me about his idea to produce a classically styled Rioja from his oldest parcels in Rioja near his village of Torremontalvo.

The site is in the heart of Torremontalvo and many of the vines here pre-date phyloxera. These sites were planted by Don Nicanor Manso de Zuñiga, The Count of Hervías and his brother Don Victor Cruz founder of the oenology station of Haro. To their amazement, these vines survived due to the sandy nature of the plots. Conde de Hervias is made from a selection of these very old vines. These vines surround the estate and are bordered by the Ebro River.

Highly regarded for distinctive and age-worthy red wines, Rioja is Spain’s most celebrated wine region. Made up of three different sub-regions of varying elevation: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Wines are typically a blend of fruit from all three, although single-zone wines are beginning to gain in popularity. Rioja Alta, at the highest elevation, is considered to be the source of the brightest, most elegant fruit, while grapes from the warmer and drier Rioja Baja produce wines with deep color and higher alcohol, which can add great body and richness to a blend.

Fresh and fruity Riojas labeled, Joven, (meaning young) see minimal aging before release, but more serious Rioja wines undergo multiple years in oak. Crianza and Reserva styles are aged around six months to one year in oak, and Gran Reserva at least two (plus three years in bottle), but in practice this maturation period is often quite a bit longer—up to about fifteen years.

Tempranillo provides the backbone of Rioja red wines, adding complex notes of red and black fruit, leather, toast and tobacco, while Garnacha supplies body. In smaller percentages, Graciano and Mazuelo (Carignan) often serve as “seasoning” with additional flavors and aromas. These same varieties are responsible for flavorful dry rosés.

White wines, typically balancing freshness with complexity, are made mostly from crisp, fresh Viura. Some whites are blends of Viura with aromatic Malvasia, and then barrel fermented and aged to make a more ample, richer style of white.

Tempranillo

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Notoriously food-friendly with soft tannins, modest alcohol, and bright acidity, Tempranillo is the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. It is important throughout Spain as well as in Portugal, where it is known as Tinta Roriz and is an important component of Port wines and the table wines of the Douro region that Port calls home. California, Washington, and Oregon have all had moderate success with Tempranillo, producing a riper, more fruit-forward style of wine.

In the Glass

Tempranillo is often aged in new oak for the integration of spicy, woodsy, and herbal flavors, often with hints of vanilla, coconut, and dill. The grape itself produces medium-weight reds with bright red and black fruit aromas and hints of spice, leather, and tobacco, with no shortage of flavor.

Perfect Pairings

Tempranillo’s modest, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity make it extremely food friendly, pairing with a wide variety of Spanish-inspired dishes—especially grilled lamb chops, a rich chorizo and bean stew, or paella.

Sommelier Secret

The Spanish take their oak aging requirements very seriously, especially in Rioja. There, a system is in place to indicate on the label how much time the wine has spent in both barrel and bottle before release, which is helpful to the consumer trying to determine the style of an unfamiliar wine. Rioja can range from Joven (fresh, fruity, and unoaked) to Gran Reserva (complex and oxidized from extended barrel aging), with Crianza and Reserva in between.

TEDSP321_2009 Item# 111087