MENCÍA & GODELLO IN DO BIERZO
A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN
A more eloquent wine writer than myself may be able to put it into words, but me, well, I can’t quite say what it is that makes the red wine grape variety, Mencía, such a favourite of mine.
Native to the North West of Spain’s Denominación de Origen Bierzo, Mencía has been around since at least the middle ages. However, it wasn’t really until the 1990s that the potential of the variety started to be realised. More often than not Mencía was used to make wine for home consumption, essentially a wholly unglamorous table wine.
Enter a group of young, idealistic oenologists, among them, local boy Amancio Fernández, who had the vision to see that the variety had a lot more going for it than had been thought previously. Old vineyards were restored, winemaking tradition was reinstated with renewed respect for the land, the terroir. Mencía’s renaissance began!
The bodega, Losada Vinos de Finca was established in 2004, with a brand new state-of-the-art winery, built amongst old vines growing in ancient vineyards. Organic certification was granted and the Losada team set about establishing themselves as a yardstick for Mencía red wine, aged in French oak and made to showcase the glory of the fruit in the elegance of the wine.
It didn’t take me long to reply to María Añíbarro’s e-mail asking if I would like to try some Losada Vinos de Finca wines – an answer in the affirmative was sent straight back, of course! I duly received two Mencía reds, as well as what was to prove an excellent Godello variety white wine.
Expecting the Altos de Losada Pequeñas Parcelas 2017 to be a real, quality wine, I decided to open it as the flagship of my May Valley FM Wine Show, it was so good I played another song, just to have a second, uninterrupted glass!
Losada owns various plots of land, parcelas, from whence they source their wines. This wine is made from 21 different parcelas, selected for their similar clay soils, but their rather different aspects to the sun, and slightly differing micro-climates. The vines are old, so, as many of you now know, this means fewer bunches but greater richness and depth in the grapes, resulting in richer wines.
The wine’s also had 15 months in oak, but it’s properly handled so that the fruit of the wine is to the fore, with backup in terms of depth and age-ability coming from the French oak, it’s subtle and elegant, like the French themselves!
Ripe, blackberries figure on the nose with some subtle blackberry leaf and wet slate aromas too. There’s a little liquorice as well, and it all goes onto the palate with the addition of a little cracked black pepper spice and on the finish some black chocolate encased in the fruit, rather than the other way round, as in a chocolate liqueur. Really lovely wine.
El Cépon is another wine altogether – a single vineyard wine, made from vines that have seen 50 summers. It’s a beauty, very dark in the glass and looking like it’s brooding! It’s not though, this wine is anxious to get out of the glass giving off a wonderful perfume of violet flowers, some undergrowth, disturbed leaves and wet slate strewn wild herb earth, and oh what lovely fruit. Black plums, the darkest you can find here in Spain with blackberry again and for me a little black cherry too, with that slight liquorice reference on the finish. Cracking wine!
And finally the Losada Godello white wine – a variety which for me, although with different taste and flavour characteristics, easily equals and can surpass Albariño, often considered white wine royalty!
This wine is made from 100% Godello from the San Esteban Estate. The wine has had one month in French oak, which has added depth and complexity, rather than much flavour – the winemaker obviously wanting to celebrate the fruit of the grapes. And that fruit? Well, citrus notes for sure, white grapefruit with some lemon as well as apple and pears. Again there’s that slight minerality to the wine, with a little floral/vegetal note on the nose, white flowers and a faint wild fennel whiff too.
Kept well chilled and sealed with an Avina wine stopper, we tasted the wine over three days, where we noticed that it retained its freshness, becoming a little more rounded and mouth filling, with the apple and pear coming more to the fore.
A really super triumvirate of wines from a bodega to watch – www.losadavinosdefinca.com
NB My next Wine Show on Valley FM (www.valleyfm.es) will be Saturday 6th June, 12 – 1 pm CET
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Please don’t forget my monthly Wine Show on www.valleyfm.es – it’s always the First Saturday of the Month, from 12:00 hrs – 13:00 hrs CET. You’ll find some great wines tasted on-air; top music; fun chat; and lotsa informal wine info! Hope you can join us soon!