Mencia grape

Hey all, rising popularity in recent times for Mencia wine. Especially from Bierzo DO and Ribera Sacra DO.

For the blind tasting, What do you think is the main clues that indicate the wine is Mencia? 

Second, I have a friend that never heard of this. He knows his wines and regions and producers. I want to gift him with a crazy producer incredible wine from Ribera Sacra specifically, what would you recommend? 

  • When you say, "For the blind tasting" I'm assuming you are referencing tasting for exams/certifications. To my knowledge, the Court of Master Sommeliers does not include Mencia among the classic, testable varietals, As I have not worked through other programs, I cannot offer more. 

    If you're looking for tasting notes for Mencia in general, I would highly recommend Jancis Robinson's "Wine Grapes" as a solid reference point. You could also purchase a few examples to taste side by side and compare your notes for each wine. Do any themes/patterns/trends emerge in the categories of Fruit, Earth, Wood, and Structure? 

    As for producers, I have extremely limited personal experience with the varietal. However, this link from Vine Pair has seven different bottlings noted, from Ribeira Sacra, Bierzo, and Valdeorras. That said, something so simple as searching "Best Mencia" will likely lead to a number of recommendations. 

    Happy hunting and tasting! 

  • This won't show up on exams as the profile is too variable still. I recommend J. Palacios in terms of value at the lower end and Veronica Ortega for a more value driven craft option.

  • I think varietal unoaked Mencia shows elevated minerality. Guimaro is an exemplary producer as well.

  • Not looking for exam purposes, but generally

    J. Palacios is from Bierzo. I need ribera sacra specifically 

    Thanks for the answer 

  • Not referring for exam. Just for general purposes. 

    Jancis wine grapes didn't help to much with key clues for Mencia. Thanks. 

  • Vino Burato from Ribera Sacra is a inexpensive quality wine. Ive had it on my list for several years. Envinate makes an exceptional Rib Sacra, hard to find and not cheap

  • Just an FYI, Mencia is a testable grape for the WSET Diploma for the D3 course. WSET specifications can be cruel. 

  • HI Omer,

    As a Spanish wine importer to the australian market there are some distinguishable differences in the mencia's from Ribera Sacra, Valdeorras and Bierzo (and also a plethora of terrible mencia in the market.

    In blind tasting think medium acidity and medium body, the acidity is often masjked as there is and amaro or soy like astringency which refreshes the palate and some confuse this for acidity. The regions tannin structure changes the further you move in land. (depending on producers style of course) the wines of Ribera Scara are the lightest and most elegant with a gentle schisit like minerality of cold rocks with a gentle tannin buts still show the classic soy character of mencia (but perhaps more toned down than the more continental regoins). The Valdeorras wine are a touch fuller and more deeply marked with the amaro-astringency - I always think of a whole rose bush; the pretty red florals with the sapid astrngent stems. In Bierzo the tannin is nutty and ripe and the most pronounced. Here it is the most continentally influenced region and the wines can handle a touch more oaking (doesn't stop some Atalantic producers though), think fuller wines with more plum fruit and less floral (the great wines of DJP etc will still be ultra elegant, but will carry there continental-weight wit ease.

    Hope that helps.

    Oh, and the recommendation for Ribera Sacra producer (soooo many bad ones) is of course Guimaro, who else...  

  • I second Raul Perez and his single vineyard expressions of Ultreia.  

    Here is the notes from wines of spain on Mencia:

    Mencía – enjoying a renaissance in Galicia and Bierzo (far west of Castilla y León) thanks to lower yields and modern winemaking. Produces fresh, fruity reds with elegant tannins. Very unlike the reds of most other Spanish regions.

    And general tasting notes: 

    sour cherry, pomegranate, blackberry, black liquorice, crushed gravel

    High quality potential, carbonic maceration affinity for fruity style

    Low yields, susceptible to wind damage, botrytis and mildew, can lose acidity quickly if not harvested promptly

  • I really like the ones from Guímaro and Algueira, along with essentially their entire portfolios.

    Not sure about WSET, but I imagine Mencia is fair game for MW.

  • It is fair game in WSET Diploma.  Blinded some earlier this summer.  Not easy to pick out, that I can tell you!