Vinos de Arganza Alvarez de Toledo Mencia 2020
This wine stands out because of its marked fruity character which brings out all the qualities and characteristics of the Mencia variety. Its time in the barrel accentuates these qualities by providing subtlety, elegance, and complexity. In the mouth, it is silky, fruity, with persistence and great kindness.
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Vinos de Arganza is a dynamic young winery located in Toral de los Vados just south of Villafranca del Bierzo in the heart of the Bierzo region. It was established in 2000 when it produced its first young wines followed by its first Crianza and Reserva in 2003. It is a family-run winery owned by Victor Robla who is a very well respected and devoted winemaker in Bierzo. They own 20 hectares of their own vineyards as well as holding long-term contracts with selected vineyard owners of the area. Alongside his wife, Angeles Varela, whose family has winemaking roots dating back to the 15th century, the main objective of the winery is to make the most of the terroir, producing wines from fruit of old vines while utilizing both modern and traditional methods to create wines of both old and new world characteristics.
El Bierzo today is possibly one of the most exciting wine regions in Spain, and the Mencia grape, indigenous to the region, is the star red grape while Godello, with its floral, ripe fruit and green apple characteristics is the major quality white grape variety. Characteristically, Mencia has delicious red and black fruit flavors with tones of graphite terroir which is what makes these wines so special. The Godello, despite its small production has been attracting attention and loyalty among producers and consumers alike. DO Bierzo is located in the northwest of the province of Castile and León and covers an area of just under 4000 ha of vineyards, some of which are over 100 years old. Even though vine cultivation can be traced back to the ancient Greek inhabitants, it was the Romans who were the first to develop agriculture and to introduce new crops including Vitis Vinifera vines, and new technology such as the Roman plough. The greatest expansion of viticulture, however, was related to the growth of the monasteries, especially the Cistercian order, during the Middle Ages. The low altitude, ranging from 500m to 650m, helps to prevent late frosts and means that the grape harvest is usually about one month earlier than in Castile.
One of the few northwestern Spanish regions with a focus on a red variety, Bierzo, part of Castilla y León, is home to the flowery and fruity Mencia grape. Mencia produces balanced and bright red wines full of strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, baking spice, pepper and black licorice. The well-drained soils of Bierzo are slate and granite.
Primarily found in the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras regions of Spain and in the Dão of Portugal (where it is called Jaen), Mencia is an early ripening, low acid grape that can produce wines of great concentration, complexity and ageability. And yet Mencia once suffered from a poor reputation and deemed capable of producing simple and light red wines. Post-phylloxera growers would grow this variety on low, fertile plains, which produced high yields and uncomplicated finished wines. Somm Secret—The recent rediscovery of the ancient, abandoned vines planted on rugged hillsides of deep schist has unveiled the potential of Mencia and added discredit to its old reputation.