Grape and wine types

El Bierzo is an ideal area for vineyards. The valley where the grapevines are placed has a slight slope starting in the pine forests of the surrounding mountains, protecting them of the severity of the Atlantic. The production of protected wines is done exclusively with approved wine varieties. The most important red is Mencía and the most important whites are Doña Blanca and Godello.

Mencía is the reference grape variety for producing superb red wines, growing in 70% of the grapevine. This variety gives small and compact clusters, with medium-size oval-shaped berries with thick skin, which are regular in its cross section. The red wines made with Mencía grapes are remarkable due to their ageing potential, their characteristic velvety palate, without forgetting the optimal conditions of this variety in the production of young red wines.

The rosé wines: aromatic, fruity, alive, light and smooth.

The white wines: clear and bright, pale straw coloured, sweet tones and vivid acidity.

Wine types:

White wines

These are young wines, produced with Doña Blanca and Godello. The alcohol content ranges between 10% and 13%.

Young red wines

Young wines have specific scales of the Regulatory Council which are respected such as minimal total acidity, volatile acidity and maximum volatile acidity.

Old wines without ageing

With specific scales and vintage indicated.

Rosé wines

Made from red and white grapes, with an alcohol content between 11% and 14%. There is predominance of a wide array of colours – ranging from onion skin to orange – in the rosé wines.

Old wines with ageing 

These wines are aged for two years before release, of which six months are spent in oak barrels with a capacity of less than 1,000 litres. Mencía has the property of producing aged wines, obtaining its maximum splendour from three to five years.

Reserva wines

Wines with an ageing period of 3 years, of which 12 months should be in oak barrels and 24 months in bottles.

White and rosé wines must be stored for at least 6 months in oak barrels and 18 months in bottles, that is, two years in total.

 

Sensory characteristics:

White wines

Observing phase: light yellow-straw coloured due to the Godello variety, even when Doña Blanca is proportionally more present.

Olfactory phase: intense primary aromas, fully fruity character, Golden apple and ripe fruits depending on the variety, maintaining herbaceous hints in some wines. Delicate secondary aromas and a long persistent finish.

Tasting phase: due to the mixture of grape varieties used to bring qualities to the final balance, the tasting phase is complete in sensations, detecting sweet notes with vivid acidity and a satisfying long aftertaste.

Rosé wines

Observing phase: range of colours from pale pink to strawberry pink.

Olfactory phase: primary aromas reminding of the Mencía variety, medium intensity, fine bouquet and fruity character, strawberry, raspberry, and sweet tastes to ripe fruits when mixed with white wines. 

Tasting phase: smooth and warm, full-bodied and fruity aftertaste. Red wines of the current year.

Red wines

Observing phase: intense cherry red with important violet hints. Its youth is discovered in thin layer.

Olfactory phase: intense aromatic expression finishing in wild berries: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.  Bold wines, being perceived as well in metallic hints which are typical of the Mencía.

Tasting phase: smooth palate, elegant oily and velvety dregs, balanced in tannins and acidity. Persistent aftertaste in the variety. 

Crianza and reserva wines

Observing phase: wide range from intense cherry red to dark tile red. Powerful and fine tear.

Olfactory phase: reminiscences of primary aromas of the Mencía variety, evolving into dried fruits. Fine and delicate wood touch, tobacco, dried fruits and nuts.

Tasting phase: wide and velvety flavour. Delicate wood tastes, vanilla, sweet fruits and dried fruits, with powerful and highly alcoholic aftertaste.

 

Grape varieties:

Mencía Godello
mencia godello

Violet thick-skinned grapes, also known as black, are mainly grown in the northwest of the Iberian Península. It produces fruity and high-acidity wines with a long finish. This variety gives small and compact clusters of medium sized thick-skinned berries.

The red wines made from Mencía stand out due to their ageing potential, their characteristic velvety palate, without forgetting the optimal conditions of this variety in the production of young red wines. Rosé wines are aromatic, fruity, alive, light and smooth.

White variety adapted to the average ground, but mainly grown in wet soils. The best quality is produced on average fertility soils. It is a very early-ripening variety.

Its pale yellow, flowery, lasting and full-bodied wines have fragrances very similar to fruits such as apples.

Doña Blanca Palomino
dona-blanca palomino

It produces wines of medium aromaticity, smooth flavour and long aftertaste. It is a variety of determined ripening, lowering its palate characteristics and balance with the over-ripening.

White variety, also known as Jerez, is used as a complementary type, producing pale yellow, medium to low acidity and high-alcohol content wines. Big cuneiform leaves, long clusters. Medium-sized berries, colourless juice, simple flavour and juicy pulp.

Garnacha Malvasía
garnacha  

Variety of ancestral growing, wines of an intense colour and high-alcohol content. It is usually used in the production of red and rosé wines, in a small percentage. Small blue-black berries, coloured juice, tasteless and juicy pulp.

Early-ripening white variety, aromatic character, used as a complementary type which brings balance. Medium size clusters, colourless juice, tasteless and juicy pulp.

 

NOTE: Images provided by the Regulatory Council PDO Bierzo.