Beautifully Restrained Mencía

Today’s Story: Castro Candaz

Castro Candaz is a relatively new but exciting joint venture established by Spanish winemakers Raúl Pérez and Rodrigo Méndez in the Ribeira Sacra region of Spain. Raúl is a legend in Spanish winemaking in his own right, particularly for his La Penitencia and El Pecado bottlings from the Amandi appellation of Ribeira Sacra. He also consults for a number of wineries and has forged partnerships with many of the world’s most important winemaking families, for example like the Graillot family of Crozes-Hermitage. Rodrigo, on the other hand, is well-known for producing exceptional Albariño from Rías Baixas and he has worked with Raúl previously. This new Castro Candaz project is centered in the cooler Chantada appellation of Ribeira Sacra where the Sil River widens and vineyards are less steep. The wines are meant to be restrained examples focused on the Mencía variety, produced with whole cluster fermentation in large oak vats with an aim of sticking around 13% ABV or lower. These are delicate but complex wines meant to showcase the purity of the variety and deliver a sense of place.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Mencía

Field blend of Mencía, Domingo Pérez (Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), Mouratón, Caiño, and Brancellao; 13% ABV

The 2019 Mencía is medium ruby in color. Given some time to open up in the glass, this wine offers up aromas of medium (+) with the nose showcasing cherry, black raspberry, pomegranate, rose petal, crushed rock, volcanic earth, and rosemary. There’s a strong mineral backbone here as well. Meanwhile on the palate the flavors are also of medium (+) intensity, offering up notes of blackberry, cherry, pomegranate, peppered red meat, chopped green cooking herbs, crushed gravel, and mild smoke. This dry red is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol, and a medium (+) length finish.

Price: $20 (closer to $12 in Spain). This wine offers pretty stellar value, especially over in Europe where it’s nearly half the price of US retail. It’s a gorgeous wine of very good quality thanks to great balance, solid intensity, and sense of place.

If this wine seems like something you might enjoy, you may find this link helpful in locating it.