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Mencia 2023

Producer: Adega Ponte da Boga
Region: Galicia
Appellation: Ribeira Sacra
Country: Spain
Classification: DO
Wine Type: Red
Variety: Mencia
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 12.5%
Residual Sugar: <1.2 g/L
Soil: Shcist, Slate & Granite
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Cellar Profile


Founded in 1898, Ponte da Boga is Ribeira Sacra’s oldest winery. It was purchased in 2006 by the Rivera family, who have focused their efforts on growing and vinifying ancient, autochthonous regional varieties including Godello, Mencia and the ultra-rare Merenzao. Their 33 hectares of vineyards surround the canyons of rivers Sil, Mino and Edo. The majority of plots are located on dizzyingly steep slopes where ‘heroic viticulture’ – including manual work using harnesses, sometimes accessed only by boats from the river – is necessary. Their oldest vines are over 100 years old. All are farmed by hand according to the concept of integrated management and only natural preventative measures are used to keep the vines healthy and pest-free. The wines are fresh and elegant, with a subtle complexity and exceptional drinkability.

Region


Located in the heart of Galicia, Ribeira Sacra is one of Spain’s oldest and most obscure wine regions, known for its dramatic, deep valleys and extremely steep, terraced vineyards that cut through its many rivers and tributaries. Ribeira Sacra is home to a wide array of indigenous grape varieties, chief among them for whites being Albariño and Godello (the real star of the region). Red grapes include obscure varieties like Brancellao, Merenzao and Souson, along with the most planted and well known Mencia. The geologic landscape varies greatly, but schist, granite and slate are the most prevalent soil types. Vineyard sites in the region’s west are heavily influenced by the Atlantic ocean and its moderating climatic effect. As you move east and inland, the climate becomes more traditionally Continental. In general, climatic conditions here make grape growing a somewhat difficult process. When combined with naturally low yields and necessary ‘heroic viticulture’, Ribeira Sacra vineyards are labour-intensive and costly to manage. However, the results can be well worth the expense, with the very best wines offering a rare combination of freshness, power, elegance, fruit intensity and complex savoury intrigue. They are at their best at the table alongside a variety of fare, Spanish and otherwise.

Vineyard


Sourced from the north-facing Parada de Sil vineyard, located 300-350 meters above sea level. Old vines are planted on very poor, decomposed granite subsoil called ‘xabre’. Here the Mencia ripens slowly, giving it a fresh character, with plenty of balancing acidity and mild, silky tannins.

Varieties


A relatively obscure grape only a decade ago, Mencia has become increasingly popular, even trendy, to both oenophiles and more casual drinkers alike. You’re most likely to find examples from the Bierzo region in Spain’s northwest Galicia district. Prior to its recent renaissance, the grape suffered a reputation for making light, almost diluted wines lacking in character and presence. This had more to do with economics than anything, as struggling growers preferred to plant on fertile plains where high yields produced mediocre results. The best examples hail from steep, schist-based soils, where exposure and old vines combine to create wines with both freshness and intensity. They tend to be deeply coloured, supple and loaded with red fruit character and floral nuance. The best examples come from cooler sub-zones and microclimates.

Winemaking


Grapes are heroically hand harvested, de-stemmed and crushed into stainless steel. Primary fermentation takes about 10 days, followed by skin maceration for a further 10 days. The wine remains in stainless steel for malolactic conversion and aging for 6 months before being bottled.

Tasting Notes 


Sour cherry, licorice, earth and a hint of bramble on the nose. The palate is racy and fresh, with loads of fresh acidity layered under the sweet-tart red fruits. Cranberry, rhubarb, raspberry and crunchy minerality on the palate, with just a hint of savoury “funk”. Chill lightly and enjoy with grilled sausages or veggie terrines. Serve at cellar temperature with roast pork.