Dominio de Tares Mencia 2003
-Wine Enthusiast 90 Points
Aged nearly six months in American and French oak following malolactic in the same barrels, richness imparted by the oak does not interfere with the berry-mineral elegance of the fruit. Will age well for several years. Made from 30+ year-old-vine Mencia (the precursor to Cabernet Franc) this unique, tasty wine displays intense varietal red fruit with oak in perfect harmony.
El Bierzo is a bowl-like depression ringed by snowcapped peaks, its unique geological formation attributed to Roman master engineering (according to locals, the Romans drained an ancient mountain lake to access the mineral riches beneath its waters). On the frontier between Castilla y León and Galicia, its climate is moderated by a mixture of Continental and Atlantic influence. Soils are mineral, slate and quartzite predominating. El Bierzo's predominant local variety is the Mencía, descended from grapes brought by the Roman settlers and generally regarded as the immediate precursor to the Cabernet Franc. A great majority of the vines are over 30 years old.
Spanish red wine is known for being bold, heady, rustic and age-worthy, Spain is truly a one-of-a-kind wine-producing nation. A great majority of the country is hot, arid and drought-ridden, and since irrigation has only been recently introduced and (controversially) accepted, viticulture has sustained—and flourished—only through a great understanding of Spain’s particular conditions. Large spacing between vines allows each enough resources to survive and as a result, the country has the most acreage under vine compared to any other country, but is usually third in production.
Of the Spanish red wines, the most planted and respected grape variety is Tempranillo, the star of Spain’s Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. Priorat specializes in bold red blends, Jumilla has gained global recognition for its single varietal Monastrell and Utiel-Requena has garnered recent attention for its reds made of Bobal.