I recently had the pleasure of tasting a bunch of Spanish wines, courtesy of Wines from Spain USA.  More Americans are drinking Spanish wine these days as far as I can tell just from what I’m served in friends’ houses, what I see on wine store shelves, and what people who talk about wine are, well, talking about. That’s good for Spain (and for consumers) because not too long ago, the only Spanish wine that American really knew was Vino de Jerez—Sherry—and a lot of it was cheap cooking wine you bought at the A&P. That itself was a shame, because good Sherry is a delicious and unique type of wine, produced through the Solera system in which some new vintage…

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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…

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