Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2006 D. Ventura Vina Caneiro

While perusing the shelves at the Lower Falls Wine Co., I found this wine. It was from a region of Spain, Ribeira Sacra, from which I had never had a wine, so I decided to buy it. I wanted to continue to expand my wine horizons, to try something new.

The Ribeira Sacra is a D.O. located in Galicia, much of the vineyards planted in steep valleys and gorges of the Rivers Miño and Sil. It has an ancient history of wine making, some of its wines said to have been transported to ancient Rome. Yet it is currently a small wine region, largely unknown in the U.S. as so few wines are exported to here. Decanter magazine (11/08) had an article about this region, noting it as an up and coming area.

The D. Ventura winery is small, about three hectares, and family-owned. Their farming is organic, though not certified as such. They only use indigenous yeast and none of their wines are filtered or cold stabilized.

The 2006 D. Ventura Vina Caneiro ($27) is made from 100% Mencia, from vines that are over 80 years old. It was fermented in stainless steel and saw no oak. It has an alcohol content of 14% and only 500 cases were produced. The 2006 vintage was said to be "stunning." As this wine is made from Mencia, it will bring to mind the wines of the Bierzo region, also in Galicia and which are more readily available in the U.S.

The Mencia grape is usually very fruity when young, as well as having mineral notes. The older it gets, it becomes more elegant and complex. This wine had a dark red color, nearly opaque, with a powerful nose of raspberry and black cherry. Those strong berries flavors are prominent on its taste along with mineral notes and moderate tannins. It feels like more of a serious wine, not just a fruity, easy-drinking wine. The finish is long and satisfying, and the wine presents a good structure and some complexity. Because of it tannins, I would recommend drinking this wine with food. It would pair well with some pork or even steak tips.

This is an interesting expression of Mencia and I would recommend you check it out and expand your own wine horizons.

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