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Tag Archives: Ribeira Sacra

Spotlight on Mencía

The first clue that a relatively under-the-radar grape variety is becoming popular is when you see it on the wine list of a gastropub in a trendy area of London. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Mencía listed at dinner last night, in fact the Descendientes de J. Palacios, Pétalos is a wine I also had on the list when I was a sommelier. If you saw a Mencía on the list, would you go for it? Let’s take a little look at this grape and the wines it makes, to give you a better idea what to expect if you did. The first thing to know is that it comes from Spain, but you may have guessed that […]

Red Grape Varieties of the Mediterranean Deserving More Attention

Ever wondered why the same small bunch of grape varieties bobs up so frequently from wine regions around the world? There are many hundreds of different grapes out there, but only a small handful of them have managed to become widely grown and internationally known. Mostly grapes have to settle for limited local fame on their home turf. As far as red wines and black grapes are concerned the core range of grapes grown worldwide is really only Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Pinot Noir. I know some of you will take issue and say that I have ignored Malbec, Zinfandel or Pinotage – or something else that is dear to your heart, but really apart from the four I […]

2009 José Peñin Tasting: Should Spanish Wine Producers Push Their Latest Vintage?

Evey year, as well as releasing his guide to the wines of Spain, José Peñin puts on a tasting of the top wines (those that got 94 points or more) in Madrid. Like so many tastings of this type (large room, producers behind tables, indecipherable layout, and too many people) the pointers for those attending remains the same: turn up early (to avoid the hordes), taste all the best stuff first (before it runs out), know what you want to taste (this prevents you from running about like a mouse trying to find cheese in a behavioural science experiment) and avoid any woman ostentatiously dressed (her perfume will lay any subtle aromas to waste like napalm over lemongrass) – I […]

Regional Profile – Galicia

Occupying the northwest corner of Spain, the province of Galicia is nestled snugly between various mountain ranges to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and Portugal to the south. The area was first colonized by the ancient Celtics in the sixth century B.C and Galicia was later controlled by the Roman Empire for hundreds of years. By the 13th century, the pilgrimage known as the Camino de Santiago which leads almost 900 kilometers across the north of Spain to the tomb of Saint James in Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela, was at its zenith, with up to 500,000 pilgrims a year. This pilgrimage had a profound effect on the proliferation of wine throughout this region of Spain, […]

Grape Profile – Mencia

What is Mencia? It’s a grape on the rise right now in Spain, as a result of famous estates such as Dominio de Tares. Although, searching around the web will yield many results for information on this grape. So why do I find this grape to be worth taking note of? There are two main reasons why this grape deserves attention. One reason has to do with my recent interview with Spanish wine expert, Victor de la Serna, where he touts this grape as one of Spain’s four greatest red varieties”. The second reason is that recently, I was at a tasting of “new” Spanish wines, where I had a chance to try a young (2005) Mencia made by Carbonic […]