Learning Wine One Glass At a Time

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unnamedAs a novice to wine culture it can be very daunting to learn all the technicalities such as the geography, terminology and even the varieties of grapes is so huge. Nevertheless if you really open yourself up to the experience of tasting wine, the knowledge will follow, one glass at a time. I, myself have been a bartender for most of my career and know many things spirits and cocktails, however wine is so vast and complex I never gave it a chance to learn more until now.

This week I will be learning about Peique Tinto Mencia (2018) from the region of El Bierzo, Spain. Located about three hours northwest of Madrid, the terrain is mostly hilly and so the grapes are hand-harvested. The Mencia grapes are grown on vines between forty five and fifty five years of age on clay and sandy soil which surprisingly comes through in the tasting of the wine. Currently, it is run by Bodegas Peique with Jorge, Mar and Luis Peique looking after the whole operation.

The wine itself gives off a beautiful deep ruby colour. The aromas include hints of red fruit on the nose. Tasting notes include slight acidity at first which then evolves into a nice dry earthiness with subtle notes of blackberry in the background, before finishing with nice and easy tannins.  Medium bodied, overall a genuinely nice bottle of wine for those who enjoy dry and earthy notes in a red. A new drinker of wine, there is no need to over-complicate flavours. See what you can taste by comparing it to flavours you had before. If you have a bad memory like myself, jot down your tasting notes so you can compare it to futures wines.

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.