Wine of the Week: Avante Mencia 2009

Spain grows great wines—Grenache and Carignane from Priorat, Tempranillo from Rioja and Ribero del Duero, and Albarino from Rias Biaxas to name a few.

But Mencia is a grape you’ve probably never tasted and maybe never even heard of.  This 100% Mencia is from the large Castilla y Leon region, but you can find other excellent ones from the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras Denominación de Origen appellations.

Aroma of violets and flavors of black cherry and black raspberry; a little smoky and peppery, fresh, bright and crisp, with a long finish.  There’s tannin there, but this is a fruit wine with just enough oak influence.

Although the Mencia grape is native to Spain, and Mencia wines have been around a long time, because they’re almost unknown in the U.S. I think they’re somewhat of a “discovery” to American wine drinkers. But I also think Mencia is going to become the next great Spanish wine, so get out a little ahead of the pack and try some. This one’s about $14-17 and I’ve seen it on sale for $10-12.  Really great stuff.