Oddball Wine of the Week: La Mano Mencía

This is the second appearance of the Mencía grape here in the Oddball series. The first was the terrific Viña Caneiro 2007 Ribeira Sacra. But this one is from Bierzo, another northwestern region of Spain.

La Mano Mencía Roble 2007 Bierzo

Producer: Vinos de Arganza

Grapes: 100% Mencía

Appellation: Bierzo (DO, Spain)

Vineyards: No info on the bottle or website, but if you watch the video below the vines are head-trained and look to be pretty old.

Vintage: 2007

Winemaking: 3 months in “secondhand” American oak barrels

Alcohol: 12.5%

Price: $9-10

My tasting notes: The nose on this wine is swimming with rocky, gravely minerality. The red fruit aromas are mouthwateringly juicy with a slight herbal edge (thyme, perhaps). In the mouth it’s medium weight with blueberry, cherry and other red fruit flavors. The tannins are pretty firm and the first glass comes across as pretty austere. It smoothes out by the second glass and I’m enjoying it much more.

Overall impression: Certainly not up to the standard of the Viña Caneiro 2007 Ribeira Sacra, but it’s much cheaper and easier to find. If Mencía is a new grape to you and you want to try one, this wouldn’t be a bad option. Be sure to give it a good couple of hours of air. B-

Free association:

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floato/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

More info:

An interesting video from Axial Wines (the importer) about the wine.

90 points – Jay Miller in The Wine Advocate

Other reviews at CellarTracker (mean: 80, median: 83), Cork’d (avg: 89), BeerAndWineReviews.net (85) and originalverkorkt (heck if I know – it’s in German!).

4 comments to Oddball Wine of the Week: La Mano Mencía

  • I think a lot of wines that start of rocky, dirty, mellow out with some decanting. 90 points $10 bucks is pretty fantastic. Looks like the reviewers on Cellar Tracker are not quite in agreement.

    I love the video!

  • Jim/VINEgeek

    Jay Miller’s 90 seems a little high to me. My B- is more like a 87-88, I guess. But that’s why I don’t use the 100-pt scale: false precision. I wasn’t too surprised by the CellarTracker scores (I included mean and median because there was one guy who rated it a 70) – this is a style of wine that some people just don’t like. That leaves more for me! Cheers.

  • Gents,

    My name is Louis and I am tuner and fine-tuner of the La Mano. This wine prentends to be a wine loyal to its region, climate and grape it produces (=terroir). At the same time it should have character, complexity, certain finesse but above all deliver pleasure of drinking. I love to see different comments. I guess this come with character. Also I see that most of the comments and flavors picked up are very much of the Mencia. The rgape has lots of “material” ie a bit of oxygen does not hurt. Thanks and we´ll keep you feeding with great wines.

    Lous Geirnaerdt

  • Jim/VINEgeek

    Thanks for the comment, Louis. I enjoyed the wine and think it’s a very nice value for someone looking for something out of the ordinary. I’ll be on the lookout for more of you wines. Cheers!

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