Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My mind on mencia from Ribeira Sacra

I had very big hopes for the 2 wines below from D. Ventura. Both are from Mencia grown in steep, terraced vineyards overlooking the Sil, fermentated in stainless steel and free of the yoke of oak. My initial impressions, as you will see from reading the tasting notes below, are mixed. That having been said, anyone to whom I've spoken, or whose notes I've read, about these wines has gushed enthusiastically about these wines. Yet another reminder of the subjectivity of taste, not to mention my palate's occasional contrarian streak.

At any rate, I will need to remind myself to set lower expectations for well hyped, emerging regions in future tastings. These notes are from tasting the wines right after opening the bottles and then the day afer. I will re-visit them again on day 3 and record any notable changes.

2006 D. Ventura Pera de Lobo Ribeira Sacra

Produced from 100% mencia grown in granite. The nose has black pepper and reminds me of some of the lighter, higher toned Rhone reds like Cotes du Ventoux and Lirac (sometimes). Yep, there is an '04 southern Rhone vibe to this wine, on nose and palate. Red plum and huckleberry fruit that is fresh enough but won't win any points from me for originality or true sense of place.

2006 D. Ventura Vina Caneiro Ribeira Sacra

This wine is from primarily slate vineyards. It is sturdier, with darker fruits on nose and palate. Tasty blackberry fruit on the palate, with good length. While heavier, it also appears to have more acidity as well, and to me is the more interesting wine of the two.

Both of these mencias changed very little over a day and I'm honestly not quite sure what to make of that fact quite yet. I look forward to continuing to track these wines' progress. For now I'm definitely underwhelmed.