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The deep garnet, purple imbued 2000 Dominio de Tares Mencia Bierzo is a delightful red wine from one of our favorite Spanish wine regions. El Bierzo's geographical isolation, ringed by mountains with an Atlantic influenced climate and high altitude, gives rise to a distinct terroir of great nobility, which is readily evident in this debut offering from Dominio de Tares. Produced entirely from old vines of the medieval Mencia variety, a grape that is widely regarded as the direct ancestor of Cabernet Franc, the 2000 Dominio de Tares Mencia marries deep, cherry-vanilla aromas to round, spicy fruit and an elegant dry finish. A three-month stay in small oak barrels adds additional roundness and charm, without the overpowering oak overlay that often accompanies other premium Spanish reds. We suggest serving the mouthwatering Dominio de Tares at cellar temperature (55°-60°F).
Grilled chicken, served over a bed of organic greens that are laced with black and green Spanish olives, red onion, and garlic sautéed green beans, makes for a wonderful accompaniment to the 2000 Dominio de Tares Mencia. A chicken and shrimp paella provides another lovely feast with the Dominio de Tares, as does a rare tuna steak dipped in a simple Japanese soy based sauce. Rice and vegetable dishes and couscous specialties are some of our other favorite choices with this elegant, friendly red. This wine's round, huggable flavors pair well with most, uncomplicated foods, so don't be afraid to experiment.
Dominio de Tares lies to the Northwest of Castilla, in the province of Leon on the frontier of Galicia, above Portugal. In other words, El Bierzo is deep in the middle of nowhere, but in this case nowhere ( Bierzo) comprises one of the finest terroir for grape growing in all Europe. This isolated, wildly beautiful region sits on the bed of an ancient lake, which the Roman's drained in their quest for the area's mineral resources, namely gold. Today the Bierzo produces liquid gold in the form of red wine from the indigenous Mencia varietal. The Mencia varietal is considered to be the direct ancestor and precursor of Cabernet Franc and hails from the plantings of the earliest Roman settlers in Bierzo some two thousand years ago. In the Bierzo, the average age of the vines is quite old and the contemporary emphasis on quality wine rather than quantity has led to the formation of Dominio de Tares. Dominio de Tares was formed in 2000 by an enthusiastic group of local investors, leading a quality resurgence, following years of obscurity and benign neglect in the region. Given Bierzo's unique climate, a mixture of Continental and Atlantic influences, and the region's mineral rich soil, all that was needed to make world class wine from old vines in Bierzo was a world class winemaker. To the credit of Dominio de Tares, they have retained Amancio Fernandez, a Bierzo native and one of Spain's brightest young enologists, to transform Bierzo's old vine Mencia into liquid gold. The 2000 Dominio de Tares marks this bodega's debut vintage. Already, this wine has met great critical acclaim and been enthusiastically received by consumers. We think you will concur.
Spain: The Land Time Forgot? Spain is the world's third largest producer of wine, after Italy and France. Yet, with the exception of Rioja and the lovely, affordable Cava of Penedes, Spanish wines are little known in the United States. Why? Primarily, Spain has failed in comparison to its larger, wine-exporting counterparts in marketing its wines in the United States. Moreover, Spanish producers have only recently come on board to slake the growing American thirst for red wine, even though red wine has long accounted for the bulk of Spanish production, and Spain has long prided itself on great, old style reds. Yet, another factor behind the seemingly small selection of Spanish wines available in most stores and restaurants, at least in comparison to those of Italy and France, may indeed be the stereotype itself of the very traditional, heavily oaked style of Spanish red, typified by Rioja. It seems as if Rioja had become synonymous with Spanish wine to the detriment of the many fine Spanish reds and whites from lesser-known locales. While Italy and France and most New World wineries have undergone nothing short of a revolution in winemaking, thanks to enological research and the advent of technical equipment (much of it made in Italy), the well-known Rioja has for the most part clung to its traditional ways of production and its Old World style. Fortunately for Spain and American consumers, the resurrection of the Bierzo and many other once and future great wine producing regions of Spain has begun. At last the sleeping giant has awakened, bearing both new and old styles of interesting, high quality wines to our shores. Spain, the land time seemed to have forgotten, has just been rediscovered, thanks to some wonderful importers, such as Classical Wines of Spain. Stay tuned for some pretty fascinating reds and whites in the months to come.
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