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Spanish and Portuguese Wines

While in Portugal in 2017 on a business trip, I was able to make a 4 hour drive north from Porto into the Bierzo region.  I had become fascinated with the Mencia grape after first trying one in NYC at Casa Mono.  I was able to visit 2 wineries that didn't have US distribution and liked them both! 

The Estevez family has been farming their vineyards for 3 generations, their patriarch was exiled to Mexico in the Seventies.  He is a poet, thus the names Versos de Valtuille, Valtuille being the village in Bierzo where the vineyards and winery are located.  Their winery was built in 2015, the first vintage they bottled wine under their own label.  Brother and sister, Laura and Helio, are now overseeing the winery.  Their wines are beautiful expressions of the region and the Mencia grape.

The Tres Racimos Mencia from Bodegas Martinez Yerba is their reserve level wine that was aged for 3 months in French oak, most of which was neutral. Tres Racimos means three bunches, which is how many they allow to grow on the 80 year old head pruned hillside vines.  They crush all of their fruit by foot at their winery in the town of Villedecanes.

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