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Pilgrim Mencia 2016

Mencia from Bierzo, Spain
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    Winemaker Notes

    Intense cherry red color with violet edge and middle layer. Intense nose with fresh fruit and floral aromas and wild scrubland aromas, also with a slight mineral nuance. Flavor is tasty, fresh and elegant, slightly marked by soft tannins and a long finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Pilgrim, Bierzo, Spain
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    Pilgrim wines honor the centuries-old pilgrimage thousands have made in search of the grave of the apostle Santiago el Mayor in Compostela.The region of El Bierzo is situated in the most western part of the province of León. It is a valley surrounded of mountains, ploughed through by courses of rivers and brooks, with varied crops from vegetable gardens to vineyard, the culture of a zone whose origins trace back to the pre-Roman period.

    The vineyard in El Bierzo is planted mostly to bush vines on semi-terraced and sharp slopes of the mountains at an altitude of 1,640-2,297 feet, in soils consisting of quartzite and slate. Vine density varies between 1400 to 2800 in a climate that has Mediterranean and Atlantic influences. Average rainfall is 15 to 27 inches annually. Mencia is the chief variety grown there; a grape that generates powerful wines with marked mineral character. Other varieties like the Garnacha tintorera, Godello and Doña Blanca contribute to the expression and identity of the wines of the Bierzo.

    The winery is owned by the Garcia Rodriguez family with Josep Serra and Olga Verde overseeing the oenology and viticultural aspects.

    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 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.

    MTIPIL_MEN_16_2016 Item# 354882