This red grape, indigenous to northwestern Spain, has long languished in relative obscurity. But winemakers have worked to improve the quality and profile of Mencía in recent years, exploiting its crushed red fruit and blackberry characteristics. The Bierzo region of Spain in particular is “producing really fresh, elegant, lively Mencía wines,” says sommelier John Szabo.
TRY: Gancedo Mencía, 2007 ($25)
This sturdy wine is representative of what the Bierzo region has to offer, with aromas of wild violet, rose, blackberry and even freshly sharpened pencil, according to Szabo.