It's summertime - or better said at least it should be! Despite the current miserable weather forecast for Central Europe I'd like to present you a couple of fresh summer suitable red wines from here and there and probably everywhere. I'd like to start with a Spaniard. After a long break I am back in the North-West of Spain. With a red for a change! More precisely, a 100% Mencia tinto. Mencia is probably The grand red autochtonous varietal of the North-East. Apparently a distant relative to Cabernet Franc. It is cultivated on more than 11000 hectares throughout the wine-growing regions of Bierzo, Rias Baixas and Valldeoras. However, today's Mencia comes from the small and pretty much inaccessible (slight exaggeration, of course – anyway it is very far away from everything) Ribeira Sacra alongside the northern border to Portugal. This region is predominately famous for its Godello based white wines and its picturesque almost Mosel-like river valley. The relatively young Adegas Algueira (est. 1996) is one of the well know producers for a couple of red'sters based on Mencia, Alvarello, Merenzao and Caíño. As I mentioned earlier – today's one 100 % Mencia. All grapes for this entry level wine were grown on the steep hills along the River Sil. I hope in the near future I will be able to indulge you with the magnificant high end Mencia from Algueira. But that's future-talk, now first things first:
The Algueria appeared very tinted, purple red and really obscure. I was under the impression to see plenty of playful visible micro-sandy particles. The bouquet showed a lot of fresh vibrating black currant fruit (a bit sherbet'y), moist charcoal, smoke, hints of juniper, sourish assorted pickles, dry hay and black earth. A juvenile and rural life seductive nose with tons of fruit! The taste provided a lot of joy and down-right easy drinking delight indeed. It was fresh, very fruitful and vitalizing, however rather firm and well concentrated, too. In the centre of attention: lively, expressive and - typical for lighter Mencias - sourish black currant, bramble and traces of dark cherry fruit! Half way down my palatal some impressions of tart fruit marmalade arose which led to a few warmer feelings! At least, I suppose so …!?! Otherwise this wine seemed really cool and relatively crystal clear - concerning its fruit aromas, of course. Besides all these fruit impressions I got minor flavours of coal-like-things-slag, mixed pickles (just a bit), older roasted animal skin and a few reserved herbal flavours (juniper, grass, white pepper ...). What else to mention? Apart of the loveable mouth-feel not so much I am afraid. After all it was a reasonable and simple entry-level wine. The mouth-feel showed a few debris of stern teenage tannins and to the end a nice juvenile mellowness. As you might have already realized: the Algueria was more of a pleasing, simple and not all too challenging wine experience! Of course it was – a really decent **** one – I should say! A very drink'y quaffable, fresh and plain – less rustic more fashionable down-to-earth – summer wine! I'd suggest to serve it slightly cooled (maybe 13 C) and with tonnes of tasty jamón!