Avanthia 2009 Mencia (92WA 92ST)
- Size: 750ml
- Item Code: 8437011956026
- Vintage: 2009
“Sexy aromas of wild raspberry, black cherry, mineral, and a hint of balsamic lead to a silky-textured, nicely proportioned, lengthy Spanish red. Powerful aromas of cassis with a creamy and rich intensity. Finishes very long and smooth, with supple tannins and notes of bitter chocolate and dark berries. A distinctly masculine rendition of Mencia and built to handle the richest foods. Enjoy over the next seven years.” (RP)
The grapes for this wine come from two very old vineyards planted in 1920 and the other in 1935. The vines are grown in the vaso system on south oriented hillsides in soils made of decomposed black slate and quartz located at 550 m (1,800 ft) above sea level. The grapes are hand-harvested into small baskets to prevent bruising.
With 1,200,000 hectares, Spain has more land under vine than any other country in the world. As of 2004, data from OIV indicates that Spain has 35% more land under vine than Italy or France. However, due to harsh climate, historic setbacks, and past regulatory constraints on irrigation, Spain lags France and Italy in yields and volume of wine produced.
Spain is also the home to many varietals. Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) are widely planted. Grenache, planted in Southern France, is actually Spanish in origin. Other varietals include Viura (or Macabeo), Albarino, Verdejo, Airen, and Palomino and Pedro Ximenez.
Note there there are many local names for the same grape. For example, the massly planted Tempranillo is known as Ull de Llebre in Penedes, Tinto Fino or Tinta Del Pais in Rebera Del Duero, Tinta de Toro in Toro, and Cencibel in Valdepenas!
Spanish Wine Regions:
- Rioja Tempranillo and Grenache
- Galicia & Castilla y Leon Tempranillo, Albarino
- La Mancha Various
Like France and Italy, Spanish wines fall into a similar quality tiered system:
- Vino De Mesa: Lowest, most basic table wine category. Wine is often made from blended grape varietals and regions. No vintage date nor associated region allowed.
- Vino Comarcal: Like france’s vin de pays, the wine is associated to a classified region.
- Vino De La Tierra: Equivalent to France’s VDQS — a category down from DO.
- Denominaciones de Origen (DO): Wine subjects to rigid regional regulations on grape variety, yields per hectare, alcohol level, and production methods.
- Denominaciones de Origen Calificada (DOC/DOCa): The most prestigious category created in 1986 to further differentiate the DOs. There are ~55 DOs in Spain but only two — Rioja and Priorato — are prestigiously classified as DOCa.
Unlike Italy, Spain does not have a IGT category. To differentiate higher quality wine that does not satisfy the criteria of DOC (e.g. producers in the DO regions want to use a different grape or vinification method), a subcategory within Vino De Mesa was created. These higher quality wines are allowed to have a vintage year and the broader non-DO classified region on its label.
Useful Terms: DO wine must go through a certain period of aging time. Look for the following terms on the wine label to assess the quality and complexity of the wine:
- Vino de Cosecha: Vintage wine, with >85% of the grapes harvested in the vintage year.
- Crianza: Crianza means nursury in Spanish. The wine must be aged in oak barel for 6 months and in bottle for 2 years before being sold to public. * Riserva: Wine must be aged at least 3 years, of which 1+ yr must be in oak barrels. * Gran Reserva: Produced only in the best years, with approval from the local viticulture authority.