Yes I know, it's been a while since my last post and since I've been so busy with work lately that shouldn't be surprising. So I'll make up for it this afternoon, after completing all my yard work I finally have time to open a new bottle and enjoy a glass of wine, and today it's the 2009 Peique Ramon Valle Bierzo, a wine that is made from the mencia grape of Spain, and one that I've not had the opportunity to try before. Mencia has developed somewhat of a negative reputation, since some newer vines were planted and many producers focused on mass market wines meant to be consumed soon after bottling. Fortunately this wine is from 55-60 year old vines, so it might be more of an age worthy sort of wine. So here's to trying new wines!
The color on this wine is a deep ruby, somewhat darker than I expected. At first blush, the wine had a distinct nose of "Frankenberry" but as I let it open up a bit, the fruit subsided and a lovely combination of leather, spice, tobacco and espresso made themselves known. The taste was rather surprising, as I was expecting a rush of fruit at the outset that never really appeared. There were some hints of berries with a good bit of spice at the outset, black pepper and anise that quickly transitioned to some lovely mineral notes midpalate. The finish was quite striking, with some balsamic over the stark minerality of dusted limestone and granite that made for a long, dry finish.
Overall, I would rate this wine a solid 7.5, it was very interesting as a new varietal that I've note tried before, and it was a nice value, as I bought this one from Wines Till Sold Out for about $11! Although this wine hails from the northeastern part of Spain, tonight I'm pairing it with a starkly Mediterranean sort of dish, of fresh mussels sauteed in garlic and olive oil and then simmered in some San Marzano tomatoes and spicy red peppers and tossed with linguine with a touch of fresh basil and shaved parmesan to finish it off, my classic version of mussels fra diavalo! The fruit and minerality of this wine are an ideal compliment to the hearty spice of the sauce and mussels. Andiamo a mangiare!