Pazo de Arribi’s 2009 Mencia is produced from 100% Mencia vines, all in excess of 30 years of age. What we found immediately gratifying about this wine is its striking color, a deep ruby red with flashes of violet. Yet, it is the fruit, spice, and mineral driven aromas that emanate from the wine’s center that truly set Pazo de Arribi’s Mencia apart. With a bit of aeration the wine’s bouquet truly blossoms, so we suggest allowing this wine to breathe for at least 20 minutes. Wild cherry, black currant and violet aromas quickly make their appearance and mingle with the wine’s clean, underlying minerality. These tantalizing aromas emerge in the flavor profile, too, and fold generously onto the palate to reveal a medium to full-bodied red wine with deep fruit flavors, subtle earth tones, and a round seamless structure. The ripe 2009 vintage was exceedingly kind to Mencia, providing a touch of softness to this normally cool weather grape. We suggest serving the 2009 Pazo de Arribi between cellar and cool room temperature (55°-66°F).
The 2009 Pazo de Arribi Mencia provides an exemplary partner to a host of simple and sophisticated dishes. This Mencia’s amplifying flavor and seamless structure make it easy to pair with nearly all types of meats. The 2009 Pazo de Arribi provides stunning companionship to ham; pork; steak; grilled or roasted chicken with garlic, herbs, and spices; and typically hard to pair vegetables, too, such as asparagus. Some of our favorite accompaniments with Mencia are prosciutto wrapped roasted asparagus. For an authentic Spanish presentation, try substituting a fine grade of Spanish jamon, if available, for the prosciutto. Grilled or roasted chicken, served over a bed of organic greens that are laced with black and green Spanish olives, red onion, and garlic sautéed green beans, offers another simple feast with which to enjoy the flavorful 2009 Pazo de Arribi Mencia. And if after dinner some of this unique wine should linger in the glass, why not finish it with a plate of Spanish cheeses that include Mahon, Manchego, Roncal, and Idiazábal. Buen Provecho!
Pazo de Arribi, a relatively new winery with prime vineyards in the ancient province of Galicia, continues to push the envelope on quality. This winery remains a collaborative effort between Bodegas Adriá and Classical Wines of Spain. Bodegas Adriá was established in 2002 with a local Bierzo family, renowned for several generations for their expert winemaking skills with traditional Galician varietals. Located in the Bierzo DO (Denominación de Origen), Pazo de Arribi specializes in the production of the region’s two premium grape varieties: Godello and Mencia. Pazo de Arribi highlights the finest attributes of Bierzo and the desire to consistently produce excellent, traditional wines in the region’s cool climate. From Pazo de Arribi, one can count on aromatic, hauntingly beautiful Godello from estate grown fruit as well as full-bodied, richly textured Mencia from old vines. From our tasting experience and the favorable critical acclaim Pazo de Arribi’s wines are currently receiving, it is evident that the winery’s prescribed goal has already been realized. In just a few short years Pazo de Arribi has helped Bierzo claim its rightful place among Spanish DO’s. Moreover, Pazo de Arribi has graced us with a set of very special wines that are both fun and interesting to drink.
The Mencia varietal is considered by enologists to be the direct ancestor and precursor of modern Cabernet Franc. This vine hails from the plantings of the earliest Roman settlers in Bierzo, who planted Mencia two thousand years ago in what remains one of Europe’s most isolated wine regions. Bierzo is a remote area of Galicia, Spain’s cool, wind swept province astride the Atlantic. Certainly, it is the very isolation of the region that has allowed Mencia to survive and even thrive. Moreover, the average age of the vines in Bierzo is quite old, which lends itself to the production of high quality wines. Consequently, the wonderfully fruity, spicy, and wholly intriguing Mencia varietal has recently been discovered, or rather re-discovered, by modern legions of wine drinkers. They are no doubt intrigued by this unique viticultural entity we call Mencia, whose attributes are similar to both modern Merlot and Cabernet but with a softer, more exotic tone. It is Mencia’s re-birth and the contemporary emphasis on quality versus quantity in Bierzo that led to the formation of Pazo de Arribi.
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