Mencía – A Rising Star?

Mencía is an aromatic grape from north-western Spain that delivers nice, fruity wines with pleasant levels of tannins and acidity. The grape is well-known in Spain, and has risen from a history of producing regional, quite uninteresting wines to a variety that, in the right hands, can produce really nice wines. In less than ten years it has also become increasingly popular outside Spain, possibly as a consequence of the increasing interest in sit-sip-and-talk wines.

The Mencía grape

Mencías heartland is the Bierzo DO (see introduction photo), west of the city of León, on the border between the regions Castilla y León and Galicia in the north-western part of the Iberian Peninsula. This, e.g. in Bierzo, is also where the variety most likely has originated, even though there is an alternavite story of Portugal’s Dão as the place of origin. One problem is that it has not been documented for more than one-hundred and fifty years, but genetic testing supports Bierzo as its birthplace.

Mencía is grown also in Galicia. Three areas of particular interest are Ribeira Sacra DO, Monterrei DO, and Valdeorras DO. Mencía is grown also in several other regions in Spain, although on a much smaller scale. The largest plantings are in Castilla y León and Galicia.

Terrace vineyards in Ribeira Sacra, Galicia

In Portugal, plantings are reported only from Beira Littoral and Beira Interior. Outside of Spain and Portugal, there is only a very small – experimental? – planting in Chile’s Del Maule region.

Types of wines – in Spain, is Mencía produced as a dry varietal wine. In Bierzo you can also find it as a rosé – Rosado – wine. In Portugal it is commonly blended with for example Touriga Nacional.

Steak – a nice pairing with a Mencía dry varietal wine

Food pairing – Mencía is a versatile grape in the sense that the tannin levels allow for pairing with a nice steak as well as for the wine to be enjoyed as it is or with a piece of high quality dark chocolate, or as it is, in a glass of its own.

Are you interested in learning more about Mencía and more than two-hundred other wine grape varieties? You can learn about their

  • Characteristics
  • Typical wines they produce
  • Food-pairing suggestions
  • In which countries and regions they are grown
  • Their history
  • What is a grape called in another country? Search among 8500 Synonyms to find out!

Then the 200+ Wine Grapes app (available for iPhone and Android) is the app you should take a look at.

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