Mencia: Spain’s “Chic” Grape Variety! Enjoy D. Ventura Pena do Lobo 2011 Ribeira Sacra Galicia,Spain


Spanish wines have always been a favorite of mine and when I stumbled on to this little gem at the local wine bar Vino Vino in Austin,Texas for Paella Night, I fell in love all over again!

When I asked about the Spanish wines that would pair with my paella dinner, Kelly, the bartender, recommended this wine. He said it was a favorite of the staff and every customer that has tried it.

MY PAELLA TRAVELS and Mencia: Spain’s “Chic” Grape Variety!

I did not know much about this wine before I tasted it. Part of the fun of experiencing wine for me is to use my senses to see, smell and then taste the wine before I find out the details. Instantly, I was taken in by the purple color of this dry red wine. I was surprised by the fresh berry flavors, aromas and delightful acidity reminiscent of fresh blackberries, cherries and raspberries. The soft tannins and earthy aromas of freshly cut thyme and sage and a hint of licorice added to the complexity of this very food-friendly and approachable wine. I almost thought it was a Cab Franc!

Spanish Wines are known to be wines that pair well with food and this is no exception. I enjoyed every sip with tapas and paella at dinner that night. This floral and spicy wine will pair well with a meal of roasted salmon,chicken and beef as well as a variety of salads and roasted vegetables. The distinctive layers (or complexity) of this wine lends itself to a great evening of enjoyment that pairs with a variety of dishes served as tapas or appetizers.

Around $20 a bottle.

See what other dishes pair well with D.Venture Pena do lobo:

Beet and Grapefruit Salad with arugula, avocado and toasted pistachio

Pork Belly with caramelized onions and apple gastrique


Roasted Meat Paella


A little bit of history:

D.Ventura Pena do Lobo is Spanish red wine made from 100% Mencia grown on the steep hills of the Riberia Sacra (sacred hills)of Galicia in the northwest region Spain.

Haven’t heard of the Mencia grape? Well, you can now add this to your list of favorites.

The Mencia grape is suited to cooler growing conditions which produces a complex wine lots of minerality and fresh dark and red fruits such as blackberry and cherry with balanced acidity and an herbaceousness that will remind you of a Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley in France. As a matter of fact, it was once thought to be an ancient clone of Cab Franc but DNA testing proved this not to be true.

Because of the steep slopes, Mencia is hand-harvested,organically grown and the wine is fermented with natural yeasts.

Add a little zest of unexpected palate pleasure!


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