Losada’s 2011 Altos de Losada Bierzo Mencia offers a deep ruby red robe along with an alluring set of aromatics reminiscent of ripe Bing cherries, blackberries, purple plums, Asian spices, and wild herbs. Amancio Fernández’s elegant Mencia also offers elegance and a depth of complexity rarely found in other Bierzo wines. Simply put, it’s hard to resist this lush hedonistic Mencia, which offers pure velvety fruit flavors, subtle minerality and spice, and ample structure in the form of fine-grained tannins to assure continued improvement for up to a decade. Add a touch of vanilla from 15 months in new French oak barrels and the 2011 Losada Altos de Losada Mencia begins to work its magic from the moment it is poured. From the first sip to the last, it’s evident that winemaker Amancio Fernández has once again done everything right with his 2011 Altos de Losada. Garnering 92 points from Wine Spectator, the 2011 Altos de Losada resembles Losada’s outstanding 2009 Altos de Losada, which Wine Enthusiast named to their list of the year’s Top 100 Wines! For optimal enjoyment, we suggest affording Altos de Losada 20 minutes or more of aeration before serving at cool room temperature (60°- 65° F).
Although the vast majority of Mencia wines are consumed at table, where they truly shine, Amancio Fernández’s noble 2011 Losada Altos de Losada Mencia needs little in the way of accompaniments. Given a bit of aeration, many will want to consume this complex, refined red wine with the barest of accompaniments. However, a host of well-prepared dishes will enhance the experience and add much to the meal. Traditional Spanish pairings with Bierzo’s Mencias almost always involve lamb and pork. Pork and Green Chilies simmered with beans and herbs makes a lip smacking accompaniment. Spicy lamb kebobs or garlic and herb rubbed lamb shanks, which are grilled to perfection over a charcoal fire, offer additional inducements to open a bottle of Altos de Losada. Veal Osso Buco gets our nod with this Mencia, too. But that’s not all. Duck, chicken, and game birds make ideal companions to Losada’s flagship Mencia, and Spain’s wonderful sheep’s milk cheeses, Manchego and Mahon in particular, also work magic in the company of this beautiful wine. Buen Provecho!
Losada Vinos de Finca opened its doors in 2004 and remains the handiwork of the renowned Amancio Fernández. For more than a decade, Amancio has fashioned many of Bierzo’s greatest Mencia wines. Losada Vinos de Finca was founded in the heart of Bierzo, the home of Mencia, by Amancio and his partners to craft the finest Mencia in all Bierzo, a goal many believe he has already attained. Ancient Mencia vines, some of which are 100 years of age, surround the estate’s ultra-modern winery. Moreover, all of Losada Vinos de Finca’s vines are cultivated organically, which strictly limits yields and assures the utmost elegance, balance and purity in Losada’s wines.
Unquestionably, Losada Vinos de Finca’s wines receive meticulous care. They undergo malolactic fermentation in French oak using natural yeasts and barrel age to perfection. Losada fashions four distinct Bierzo Mencia wines, each from vines of varying ages and vineyard parcels. Altos de Losada (this month’s feature) hails from a number of tiny mountain parcels of very old vines and is Losada’s flagship offering. Vinos de Finca also crafts two other Mencia wines: La Bienquerida, Losada, and El Pájaro Rojo, the latter a light juicy Mencia for every day consumption. If you have never tasted a Mencia from Amancio Fernández, it is time you did.
Mencia is a red Spanish grape varietal found primarily in the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras appellations of northern Spain. Although the Mencia varietal was once considered by enologists to be the direct ancestor and precursor of Cabernet Franc, recent DNA testing has shown that this is not the case. Mencia is likely related to Portugal’s Jaen de Dão (Jaen for short) grape variety, but the evidence remains inconclusive. What we do know for certain is that Mencia vines have been cultivated for centuries in Bierzo.
Bierzo is a remote area of Galicia, Spain’s cool, windswept province astride the Atlantic. Certainly, it is the very isolation of the Bierzo that has allowed Mencia to survive and even thrive. Moreover, Bierzo’s hillside vines remain quite old, which lend themselves 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 legions of modern wine drinkers, so much so that Mencia wines now rank among the finest and most sought after of Spanish wines. Consumers are no doubt intrigued by Mencia’s viticultural attributes, which are accentuated by organic farming, low vineyard yields, and the modern winemaking techniques practiced by Losada Vinos de Finca and several other like-minded wineries.
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