Armas de Guerra Tinto
Founded in 1879, Vinos Guerra is the oldest winery in the Bierzo region and one of the most historic wineries in Spain. The founder Don Antonio Guerra was a pioneer in many ways. He was one of the first producers to bottle method champanois wines in Spain. In addition to wine, Don Antonio also produced a variety of spirits from Agua Ardiente to Vermouth and Anisettes. Today, the Guerra winery farms one-third of all the vineyards in the Bierzo region. Out of the 3,000 ha (7,413 acres) of vineyard land in Bierzo, Guerra takes care of 1,000 ha (2,471 acres), however they only make wine with the best 10% of grapes. This rigorous selection process allows the Guerra wines to consistently show extraordinary quality. In addition to being so selective, Guerra possesses among the oldest and most precious Mencia (Mehn-cee-ah) and Dona Blanca vines in the Bierzo region. The average age of these vines is 50 years, making wines that express an impressive sense of depth and flavor.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A historic winery founded in 1879, making wines with old vines 50+ years old from dry-farmed vineyards. Guerra controls one-third of all the vineyard land in Bierzo (1,000 ha or 2,471 acres) and only makes wine with the best 10% of the grapes harvested.
RATING HISTORY: 2015 90VM; 2014 90VM; 2012 89IWC
GRAPE: 100% Mencia (Mehn-cee-ah). Vines planted in 1955 to 1965. Tended in calcareous clay and slate soil at 550 m (1,804 ft) elevation
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Mencia pairs extremely well with steak tartar, calamari and goat cheese.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Prefermentative cold maceration during 3-5 days. Alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 10 days and another 7 days for the malolactic fermentation. 100% unoaked
PRODUCTION: 5,500 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located both in the lower valley (clay) and in the mountains where slate is the most common soil type. The average elevation of the vineyards is 550 m (1,804 ft) elevation. Temperature from April to October average 16.3C (61.3F) with annual rainfall of 626mm (24.6").
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh dark berries, succulent herbs, licorice and peppery spices. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry, blueberry and dark chocolate flavors that are sharpened by a jolt of juicy acidity and a hint of white pepper. The blue fruit note lingers very nicely on the long, tangy finish, which is framed by dusty, fine-grained tannins. Notes by Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold