A Portela Mencia$27 and under
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Fragrant crushed-rose and lighter cherry aromas here with a very fluid, even and plush palate. Fine, yet powerful tannins. Dark stones and spices. Plenty of detail. -- James Suckling
Mencia, the hallmark grape of northwestern Spain, wears many hats. Ranging from rustic and powerful to high-toned and elegant, it is a variety that clearly reflects its terroir. In this case, A Portela comes from DO Valdeorras, the “gateway to Galicia.” Beloved in ancient times as the only place the Romans found that could grow olives so far north on their supply line, Valdeorras is warmer than its neighbors to the west, shielded by mountains from the cold wet winds of the Atlantic. It’s also cooler than its neighbor Bierzo to the east, similarly shielded from hot Continental winds by mountains. While this area is best known for white wine production (particularly Godello), Valdeorras was, historically, home to beautiful reds as well. Winemaker Alberto Orte produces A Portela from a single vineyard, planted to high elevation slate and granite soils. This combination of elevation, soil and temperate climate makes for an elegant, mineral-driven Mencia that carries both generosity of fruit and spice and also precise, elegant acidity. Truly a unique plot, it’s no wonder that the A Portela subdistrict is nicknamed the Gateway to Heaven!click here for more information.