Abad Dom Bueno Roble, Made from Mencia Grapes
Not easy to say, but easy to enjoy
This week we have a topic for the many readers who are pursuing the Century Grape Club goal of trying wines from 100 different grape varieties
If you happen to be in Little Rock on Nov. 5, that’s the date for our next eWine Sampling, at Cajun’s Wharf. Taste five wines—the wines I’ll recommend in our four November eWine columns, plus a Welcome Wine upon arrival—for only $10. No reservations needed, just drop by and taste at your own pace. Go to brucecochran.com for details.
Try a new wine this week!
Unknown wines of Spain
Bierzo Mencia certainly isn’t a household name in wine, but I and many others at this month’s eWine Sampling thought it was great. But what does it mean?
The last time I was in Zaragoza, Spain, one of my wine friends was off to the Bierza region to meet with a winemaker. She exports wines to several countries, and works with wineries to help them with labels and styles that give them the best chance of success in other countries. I’ve been next door to Bierzo, and now wish I had pushed farther into that beautiful countryside.
Bierza is one of the more recently discovered of Spain’s many excellent red wine regions, and Mencia is one of the grape varieties that has drawn wine lovers’ attention. Often compared today with Priorat, another former backwater whose wines have has gained prominence; Bierzo is an isolated mountainous region in northwestern Spain. Like many parts of rural Spain, time seems to have moved more slowly there.
The regions total vineyards amount to only about a fifth of Napa’s and tend to be divided into many small plots, often hand tended. It would cost a lot more money to use that kind of labor for a California wine.
The Mencia grape is the most important of the region, and isn’t grown a lot outside of Bierza. At its best, which often means it came from some of the many “old vine” vineyards there, its wine is deep in color, with lots of fruit, good acidity and just enough tannin to give it some backbone, yet still retain a rather smooth finish.
My friend Lee Edwards distributes a fine one named Abad Dom Bueno Roble. The word “roble” means oak, and while this may never be a household name, it’s a name appreciated very much in my household. It retails for around $20.