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2012 El Castro de Valtuille Mencia Joven 

Bierzo, Spain

Retail $15

This bottling from Bierzo, Spain, is a product of Bodegas Castro Ventosa, founded in 1752 by the Perez family, whose descendants continue to operate the winery. Located in the northwest province of Castilla y Leon, Bierzo, a small D.O. (Denominacion de Origen), is one of Spain's less familiar yet exciting viticultural areas. The vineyards cover 185 acres in a valley 1,700 to 2,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by mountains, which ensure an excellent microclimate for the 20- to 60-year-old vines. The hillside vineyards are planted in a mixture of sand, chalk, slate and alluvial soils. The 100 percent mencia fruit is hand-harvested and sorted in the vineyard. In the cellar, the wine is vinified and fermented in stainless steel tanks followed by four months of aging in large wooden vats. In the glass, the wine offers aromas of dark fruit, cola and a hint of spice, On the palate, taste cherry, red currants, black raspberries and herbal and mineral notes with even tannins. Open 30 minutes before serving. Drink it with roasted or stewed chicken, braised short ribs, grilled sausages, pasta dishes and cheese. Buy it at: The Wine Seller. Drink it at: Three Muses and Bacchanal.

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