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New Customers Save $30* with code JULYNEW30
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Losada El Pajaro Rojo Mencia 2012
Losada Vinos de Finca was established in 2004 on the outskirts of the village of Pieros, on the Camino de Santiago, midway between Cacabelos and Villafranca del Bierzo, opposite the ruins of Castro Ventosa, Bierzo’s Roman-era fortification.
Losada’s founding philosophy was to take the region’s wines to higher level, prioritizing elegance, balance and purity of expression through limited production and adequate, but not excessive, technology. They sought out old Mencía vineyards planted on primarily clay soils, a terroir which had been relatively overlooked by the Bierzo new wave of the 1990s in its ‘rush to slate’.
The skins of Mencía grapes grown on clay soils are more hydrated and less thick, the structure more mellow, the wines generally softer in feel. Fresh acidity (the backbone of Bierzo wines) in combination with this tenderness, created an elegance that is now considered a principal characteristic of Bierzo wines.
Every part of the winemaking process is unhurried. The sustainably-farmed fruit is harvested by hand and undergoes rigorous selection on the vine so that additional sorting at the winery is minimal. After de-stemming, the grapes are gently crushed and fermentation begins naturally using the indigenous yeasts. Fruit from individual plots is kept separate in order to better observe and interpret the variety from each location, a traditional non-interventionist technique that aims to showcase the soil. Cooperage is 100% French, with a minimum barrel capacity of 300L. All techniques are adjusted according to the character of the vintage, and the wines are differentiated according to vineyard origin rather than the length of time spent in the barrel.
Known for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place the primary emphasis upon its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally warm to hot. In the center of the country lies a vast, dry plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought. Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, many of Spain’s wine regions are located on or near the milder coast, either of the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, or the Mediterranean sea to the south and east. Each of these regions has its own unique soil, climate, and topography, as well as principal grape varieties.
In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo dominate, though elsewhere the most popular wines are generally red. Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from Viura. Ribera del Duero produces opulent, fruity, top-quality wines from almost exclusively Tempranillo. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, blends Garnacha with Cariñena (Carignan) to make bold, full-bodied wines with a hint of earthiness. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. 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. Since the 1990s, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc have been steadily increasing in importance in several regions.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are regional indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent wines on their own, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics and aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are known for having a multitude of unique varieties.