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Tn – 2002 Uttaris Bierzo Crianza

After having written a short article on the grape Mencía I thought I would go and spread the word to others on this grapes potential for making great Spanish wine. So, with that in mind, I set about bringing a bottle with me to Norway for the holidays so that my family could share in the discovery. The wine I choose was the 2002 Uttaris Mencía.

The back history on this wine is a tale of two brothers. José Manuel y Víctor Núñez owned vines in Villadecanes, some of which date back to the 1930’s, which they sold off from the harvest every year to wineries who actually produce wine from their grapes. It wasn’t until 20000 that they decided to jump into the mix and try to make a wine themselves from their own grapes. The entire vineyard at the start was 16 hectares of Mencía, all trained in the goblet fashion. Quality was high and all they needed now was for their enologist, Ada Prada to draw it out.

For the most part I think they succeeded – if anything a bit too well. The problem I ran into was one of low expectations. I really didn’t expect an eight Euro wine to need air, time to breathe and even time to age. At first, I was worried I might have an off bottle as the tannins and acids seemed out of balance and a bit acrid. In truth, most of my tasting note only comes from the last sips as I realized that what was in the bottle wasn’t “off” wine but rather wine that needed some air and movement. In the end I was surprised at how well the wine came around and I can say honestly that this was a very nice bottle and good example of all that Mencía can be.

Till next time,

Ryan Opaz

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