Value Red From Spain’s Northwest Region

Bierzo in Castilla y Leon

Mencia Wine Map

This is the Map of the Province of Castilla y Leon in the Northwest Region of Spain. Just to the right of Portugal and the other side of the Douro River and up in the tip of the left corner across from Galicia, the home of the famous Albarino grape, is the D.O. of Bierzo. Not the clown! That is Bozo. One of my favorite red grape varietals from that region that I often forget about is Mencia. One producer has quite the ancient history behind it

Old Old Vines Finca Cabanela

Mencia Vineyards

The Alvarez de Toledo family goes back many centuries, the first notable moment being in 1472 when the Count Don Garcia Alvarez de Toledo was granted the title of Duke of Alba by Henry IV of Castile.

Mencia Alvarez de toledo

Three decades later, in 1514, his grandson Pedro Alvarez de Toledo y Zuñiga, who later became Viceroy of Naples, married in the town of Ponferrada Doña Maria Pimentel-Osorio, daughter of the Marquis of Villafranca del Bierzo, thus linking the Alvarez de Toledo family to the region of El Bierzo to this day.

In order to understand this project, as well as the great family tradition in viticulture, we must remember Don Luis Varela Alvarez de Toledo, who maintained a close relationship with the vineyards and the wine then which enabled the future generations to produce some of the best old vine fruit in the region. His daughter, Angelines Varela Mazon y Alvarez de Toledo, is responsible for the project of recuperating the family vineyards, several of which are over 100 years old.  You can see by the thickness of the vines how old these vines are.

2015 Alverez de Toledo

Senorio De La Antigua Mencia

Finca Cabanela

Mencia Front

Mencia Rear

Long Name for this wine lol. Finca means Farm in English so this is a single vineyard old vines Mencia. Vineyards are located in the most traditional area for production in El Bierzo at an altitude of between 420 and 500m. The bunches are de-stemmed and pressed gently, then they are fermented in stainless steel tanks with temperature control. The fermentation process lasts 12 days, during which pumpings over are made to facilitate the extraction of tannins and color.

100% Mencia Grape aged for 10 months in 225 liter French and American Oak. Let’s review

My Review

Mencia Glass

Mencia Gls Bot

Red Ruby on the color with that beautiful brick hue on the fringe indicating it’s 5 year old age. Took about an hour to aerate and review.  The wine contains 14% ABV. I don’t know why but in a blind tasting I can always guess Mencia as I get hints of pot roast in the background. This had that along with a berry combo of overripe red, black and blue with just a touch of Vanilla and the inner seeds of a green bell pepper. On the palate, medium to medium plus body with real vibrant acidity and black raspberry, overripe blueberry fruit and melted black licorice. It finishes very strong with harmonious tannins, a lot of length with one final kick of berries, spice and licorice that lingers for a solid 20 seconds. I have to agree with Wine Enthusiast’s score and rate this a solid 92+. What a great value to drink with some aged m\Manchego, any meat dishes, and a variety of hearty dishes. I would not be afraid to do some Oily fishes such as Salmon, Swordfish or Tuna as well.

My Summary

This goes back to my first VLOG today about buying wine to drink today rather than expensive wines that aren’t ready to drink for 10 years or longer. This value is hard to beat at $13 bucks!! I won’t let Mencia off of my radar for too long ever again. This is a perfect expression of the grape and the value it provides is better than wines that most pay 2-3 times the price for from other countries and regions. Most know Tempranillo and Garnacha from Spain. Time to get an entire different Spanish Red experience with a Mencia from El Bierzo. Solid wine!!

Grape-fully yours, Larry

The Future of This Winery

Mencia Angelines Varela Mazon y Alvarez de Toledo


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s