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La Vizcaina La Vitoriana Tinto 2013

Mencia from Bierzo, Spain
  • RP93
  • WS93
0% ABV
  • W&S94
  • RP95
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Winemaker Notes

100% Mencia from 90-year-old vines planted in clay soils at 2000 feet altitude.

Whole cluster fermentation in large oak vat. Aged 12 months in 225L French barrels. 1980 bottles produced

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 La Vizcaína La Vitoriana is Raúl Pérez's favorite vineyard in the Vizcaína project, one of the oldest vineyards in the family. It shows perfectly ripe red fruit, zero oak and very good freshness. The palate feels very compact and balanced, fine and elegant, with fresh, almost citric acidity and great length. Some 4,000-4,500 bottles are produced depending on the vintage.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Fresh and energetic, this light red bursts with cherry, berry, mountain herb and mineral flavors. Light tannins and lively acidity lend focus. Vibrant and expressive. Drink now through 2023.
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La Vizcaina

La Vizcaina de Vinos

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La Vizcaina de Vinos, Bierzo, Spain
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La Vizcaina is a relatively new project from Raul Purez that explores the hillside crus around his hometown of Vatuille de Abajo. Four reds and one white are produced under the name, all from vines with over fifty years of average age. Though all the red wines Raul produces in the Bierzo D.O. are labelled as 100% Mencía, they all in fact contain significant quantities of other local grapes.

The rich varietal diversity found in Galicia is due in large part to the famous Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James in the town of Santiago de Compostela, the earliest references to which date back to the 9th century. The monks who made the journey would often carry vine cuttings from their home regions in their packs to offer as gifts to the Spanish monasteries that would put them up along the way. This is certainly the explanation for the preponderance of Trousseau found throughout northwestern Spain.

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.

Calling the far western appellations of the Iberian Peninsula home, Mencia was once deemed capable of producing only simple and light red wines. But post-phylloxera, growers restricted plantings of this variety to fertile plains, which naturally led to 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 the old claims. 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 ripener and generally low acid grape capable of producing wine with 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 fruit dominant while in the more serious versions, any significant amount aged in new oak, may add hint of dark chocolate or vanilla.

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. Mencia will also be a welcome accompaniment to any cheese platter.

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.

SRKSVZ012_2013 Item# 355974