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Fraga do Corvo Tinto Mencía '21
While Spain is most noted for its red wines made from Tempranillo or Grenache, in recent years another red grape variety has become part of the conversation.
Mencía is a grape found in northwestern Spain, including appellations such as Ribeira Sacra, Bierzo, Valdeorras, and this wine's hone, Monterrei. What I’ve found over the years in exploring these regions and tasting their wines is that Mencía, like Pinot Noir or even Syrah, has a huge range of styles, from light-bodied to almost full-bodied. I’ve enjoyed unoaked, fresh styles, as well as richer, more spice-driven versions like the Bibei “Lalama” that I recently featured in a $30 and Under wine club.
We were really impressed recently when we tasted this wine from Fragas do Lecer, a small winery based in Vilaza, Galicia. Started in 2005, it is based in the valley of Monterrei, on the banks of the Támega river. Here there is a mixture of soil types, all granite based, but some with more sand and others with slate. The estate works predominantly with old vines, all farmed by hand, practicing organic.
I’ve been tasting from this producer over recent years, and this is the best vintage of their red wine that I’ve ever tried. This red is made entirely from Mencía grown in granite with both sand and slate. The grapes are handpicked, destemmed, and macerated at a cool temperature for two weeks. The wine is aged in a combination of stainless steel and used French oak, something I find almost necessary with Mencía, as the variety tends to be reductive.
Really pretty aromas, with bright red and black fruits, including cherry, blackberries, and hints of black pepper and clove spice. The fruit elegantly dances on the palate, finishing with freshness and precision. This is a very versatile red that you can chill slightly and enjoy with grilled salmon or even roasted chicken. A great value.
Fraga do Corvo
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