I have always had a penchant for oddball and less heralded wine varietals, and I just made a new friend. The new darling wine region in northwest Spain known as Bierzo is home to one of my favorite red grape varietals, Mencia. Mencia is not so different from the red varietals that you may already be familiar with. It reminds me of the Syrah-based wines of Northern France, such as Côte Rôtie, and also of the Grenache-based wines of Gigondas in the South of Rhone. However, the Avante Mencia 2009 is distinctly a wine that deserves to be recognized on its own merits.
The flavors are tightly woven and can take a little time in the glass to untangle themselves, but be patient. Aromas of fresh cut wildflowers lead to flavors of ginger-bread, dark cherries and licorice. Powered by well-defined tannins, this wines envelopes the palate and finishes with a freshness and minerality that is hard to come by at a wine at any price. Considering this wine will only set you back $16.99 at the gift shop at Seville Quarter, run, don’t walk!
Food pairings for this wine walk a little on the wild side. I simply love wines like this paired with stronger flavored meats such as beef short ribs, venison and lamb. It is flexible enough, however, to pair with pepper- or five-spice crusted tuna, if that is your thing.
Mencia is a fine varietal, and the Avante 2009 showcases it beautifully. I look forward to the many evenings and purple smiles to come, and sharing this gem with friends and family.
Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St. 434-6211, or visit www.sevillequarter.com.