Bierzo: Spain’s most exciting up-and-coming region
William Long recently returned from a visit to Bierzo in a buoyant mood. With Ribera del Duero having had a very tricky harvest in quantity terms, and prices going sky-high, Long Wines has been seeking other regions that offer quality and authenticity but at a more affordable price. Bierzo is one such region.
Bierzo, in North Western Spain, is a dramatic region of hills, mountains, roman forts and “minifundios” – tiny parcels of land. One winery that William visited works with just 22ha split into an astounding 83 parcels. Old vines abound – around 90% – at high altitude, the lower sites are too fertile for vines and instead are given over to potato and beetroot crops.
The main variety grown is the native black Mencia grape. Made in a variety of styles from light, lean and fruity to richly spiced and tannic for ageing – it offers polished dark berry fruit, fresh acidity and a whole lot of personality. Reasons why Robert Parker recently awarded a Mencia wine from Bierzo his maximum score of 100 points in The Wine Advocate.
Watch this space for news of up-coming launches from this exciting region