Grape Expectations: Mencia

Yes, like it or not, grape varieties can be fashionable – and one of today’s trendiest is Mencia. This red grape originates in North West Spain’s Bierzo region. Despite the current vogue for Mencia, it is almost only found growing in Spain – aside from a small amount in Portugal, where it is known as Jaen and largely used as a blending grape.

Mencia produces medium bodied, aromatic red wines which are often rather well suited to being served lightly chilled. Expect strawberry and raspberry flavours alongside floral notes, and even a slightly stony mineral characteristic.

While much Mencia is light, bright and fruit-driven, there are many more serious examples on the market. Wines made from Bierzo’s many old vines or ‘Vinas Viejas’ are concentrated and powerful, while others are made with noticeable oak influence.

Recommendation: Dominio de Tares Baltos Mencia – lots of wild berry, liquorice, graphite and fennel flavours with a gorgeous aromatic character

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