Baltos Bierzo

Reviewed by Neil Morris - 18 September 2012

Baltos-BierzoStyle: Red

Variety: Mencia

Alcohol by volume: 14.5%

Year: 2009

Region: Bierzo (Castilla y Leon)

The region

A diverse and complex region; the essence of Bierzo is displayed in the different geography, language and culture of the region. Occupying a tectonic basin in the north west corner of Castilla y Leon, Bierzo is characterized by fertile valleys and deep gorges, watered by numerous streams and surrounded by mountainous alpine terrain.

The region has many small growers distributed throughout and the complexity of landscape is reflected in the rich variety of wines produced. Once unheard of, the region is now considered one of the most interesting of Spains up-and-coming wine regions.

The Mencia grape is native to the north-west of Spain and dominates the wines from this region. Many wines use only 100% Mencia grapes to fully showcase the character of this versatile grape. The different terrains can produce very different results from this single variety and Bierzo wines can offer everything from soft, fruity and delicate wines to the more powerful and complex, mineral-laden styles.

The other main red grape variety used in Bierzo is Garnacha Tintorera and the white varieties used include Godello, Doña Blanca, Palomino and Malvasía.

The wine

This 2009 vintage Baltos benefitted from a great year in the region. A cold winter, wet spring and hot summer, combined with further optimum conditions on a day to day basis, helped to enhance the ripeness and acidic concentration of this 100% Mencia Bierzo.

The results are fantastic. The wine is well-balanced, fresh and sophisticated with bold red fruit flavours. There are notes of toasted spice beneath the cherry sweetness and the silky smooth tannins give a lingering finish.

There is no doubting the quality of this wine and the Mencia grape adds a touch of regional character that is sometimes worth paying that little bit extra for.

Rating: 8.5/10 (info on scoring system)

Baltos Bierzo / Mencia - 2009

Price: £15.95 Whistle wines (UK)

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