Mencía: What you need to know

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mencia-3Mencía (“Men-thee-ah”) is a medium-bodied red wine grape that produces high quality wines with floral and red fruit flavours. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s not surprising, Mencía only grows in Spain and Portugal on the Iberian peninsula.If you love Pinot Noir and other medium reds, then Mencía is something worth investigating.

Mencía has lovely flowery aromas, strawberry, raspberry, black licorice, pomegranate and cherry sauce.It has a deep red colour with some violet edges.The palate tends towards medium to full bodied with recurring notes of cherry, red currant, pomegranate and some peppery spice. Like all Iberian grapes it doesn’t mind the kiss of oak or even a big hug.

Mencía grapes are grown in Bierzo, Valdeorras and Ribera Sacra in Spain, and Dão in Portugal. The highly prized Mencía wines generally come from older hillside vineyards where the grapes are more concentrated. In the mountainous Ribera Sacra region, the position of the vineyard slope will also affect the ripeness of the grapes.

Check out some of our great Mencía’s at our wine tasting this Friday.

Spanish delights

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Somehow, Spain seems to fly under the radar compared to its next door neighbour, France. Spain is actually the third largest wine producer in the world and has the most land dedicated to vineyards–over a million acres. Spanish wines range from great values to highly prestigious wines, such as Vega Silicia’s Unico.

Northwest “Green” Spain

Galicia, very unlike the rest of Spain, is where lush green valleys are plentiful and the common cuisine includes lots of fresh fish. Albariño is the champion grape of the sub-region called Rias Baixas (RYE-us BYE-shus), which skirts the coast. The area specializes in zesty white wines and a few aromatic red wines made with Mencia in the Bierzo & Monterrei Region which is also famous for the whites of Godello and Treixadura.

Mediterranean Coast

The coast is a very diverse macro-region that contains the sub-regions of Valencia, Catalonia and Murcia. Catalonia is known for Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and a highly acclaimed red wine sub-zone, Priorat based on Garnacha but also the up and coming Terra Alta Region. Valencia and Murcia are warmer growing regions that produce a bulk of value wines from deep red Monastrell especially in the Jumilla Region.

Ebro River Valley

The sub regions of La Rioja and Navarra are found in the Ebro River Valley. Here, Tempranillo is king. Rioja produces some of the most age worthy wines. Navarra produces a large volume of rosado (rosé) wine of Garnacha.  Rioja aging explained: Joven – a young wine with no oak aging; Crianza – A minimum of one year in casks and a few months in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum cask aging period is 6 months.; Reserva – aged for a minimum of 3 years, with at least one year in casks. ; Gran Reserva – Selected wines from exceptional vintages which have spent at least 2 years in oak casks and 3 years in the bottle.

Duero River Valley

The Duero River is the same river as the Douro in Portugal. This region is notable for the rich white Verdejo of Rueda and the red wines of Toro, Ribera del Duero and Leon. The wine grape of Toro, called Tinta de Toro,  and Ribera del Duero called Tinto País or Tinto Fino are local synonyms for Tempranillo.

Central Plateau

Because of its climate characteristics, vines are spaced very far apart and close to the ground. Some of the best value red wines made of Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo and Garnacha come from this area. And some serious contenders from districts such as Mentrida based on Graciano & Cencibel (Tempranillo).

 

Spanish Wine Week Tasting

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As part of #SpanishWineWeek we will be running a drop in tasting of Spanish wines Friday 15th March. We will have everything from Albarino to Tempranillo and loads more in-between. We will have a selection of wines from all over Spain including Bierzo, Rioja, Rueda, Ribera, Jumilla and Terra Alta open for sampling on the night. Admission is free and the tasting takes place in our shop from 17.00 -20.00 Friday 15th April.

Galway Food Festival Program

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Easter is once again upon us, meaning we’re closed this Friday, but to make amends we’re running a bunch of tastings and events in the shop.

On Thursday 24th we will kick off with our Game of Rhônes blind tasting from 6pm-8pm.

Our tastings kick-off again at 11am on Saturday 26th with our To Rioja and Beyond Spanish tasting.

This tasting will be run 4 times on Saturday at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm.

We will also have an Italian Tip to Toe tasting running at 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.

And if you have room left for a glass or two Saturday night why not call into our popup wine bar between 8pm and 10pm.

We look forward to seeing you over food festival and wish you all a happy Easter.

Wind beneath my wings

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wingspanOne of the holy grails of the wine trade – Pinot Noir at the right price that actually tastes like Pinot Noir…amazing! Add the fact that it’s from New Zealand and it becomes all the more amazing!! An old friend of ours, Wingspan are based in Nelson, west of Marlborough, farming their vineyards sustainably in this, the warmest region of NZ.

The nose is full of soft red fruits with spicy tones, the palate is a real surprise for a wine at this level: dark berry fruits with real grip, structure and acidity. Hedgerow fruits lie alongside spicy raspberry and classic Pinot tang with a clean, proper finish. Pair with some tasty spicy Chinese duck dishes, or spiced crusted beef brisket.

Australia Day Suggestions

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While Australian wines are going from strength to strength i terms of quality and regional diversity, we have noticed that a great may people have given up on finding that new or exciting bottle from among the ranks of our Aussie selections. They all seem to believe its all about over oaked Chardonnay or big fruit bombs of Shiraz. Well hopefully this post will change your mind we’ve selected 3 of our favourite Aussie wines that move from the classic ingrained idea of what Aussie wine is.

Weemala Tempranillo1) Weemala Tempranillo 2012, Mudgee

Delightful aromas of sarsaparilla, tobacco, red berries and cherries. the palate is robust but not heavy with a gentle kiss of vanilla and red cherry fruit on the finish. An interesting take on the Spanish classic variety Tempranillo.

 

2) Logan Pinot Noir 2013, Orange Logan Pinot Noir

This red pours a beautifully brick red with deeper hues of crimson towards the centre. Soft, silky flavours of red berries and cinnamon spice over perfumed aromas of cherry, chinotto and dried herbs. Beats many a burgundy in terms of quality and drinkablity even at twice it’s price.

 

 3) O’Leary Walker ‘Polish Hill River’ Riesling 2013, Clare Valley

OLW Polish Hill Riesling

Produced using organically grown fruit from the picturesque Polish Hll River sub district of the Clare Valley. This is a delightfully seamless white wine with good backbone and aromas of honey blossom, lime and a mineral delicacy. the palate is very fine and long and drinks like a tight Sancerre.

Azienda Rivera

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The de Corato family roots go deep into the agriculture of Puglia. Here, in the countryside of Andria, Sebastiano de Corato founded the Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the late 1940s, inspired by a vision of realising, and bringing to the world’s attention, the enormous viticultural potential of the Castel del Monte area.

Widespread recognition quickly followed and since then  Rivera, has become the benchmark of Puglia quality wine production and the force driving its rebirth, thanks also to innovations in both vineyards and winemaking introduced since the early 1980s by his son Carlo.
Today, with the involvement of the third generation of the family represented by Carlo’s sons Sebastiano and Marco, Rivera continues with pride and renewed commitment the production of wines that eloquently express the intense yet elegant character of this land and its native grape varieties.

The winery’s winemaking philosophy is rigorously applied to every step of the process: vineyard management, grape harvest, winemaking, maturation and bottling; the most up-to-date viticultural and oenological practices are married to the deepest respect for natural processes, with all activities focused on achieving environmental and economic sustainability and on continuous improvement in quality.

Check out their wines here. Rivera

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