Quinta da Muradella  -- 2016 Monterrei --  Mencia, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorerra

Quinta da Muradella -- 2016 Monterrei -- Mencia, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorerra

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Monterrei is a relatively new (1994) Denominacion de Origen in Galicia, right on the northern border with Portugal, but archeological finds, as is the case in the rest of Galicia, point to pre-roman viticulture. Monterrei is far enough inland to have a continental climate that sees very high temperatures in summer and very low temperatures in winter, with less than a third the rainfall that the coastal vineyards of Rias Baixas receive. Jose Luis Mateo learned wine growing and making from his bar-owning father and with his fanatical devotion to quality and indigenous varieties, Mateo was the first to revive the reputation of Monterrei and remains the only winemaker of note. The 34 different parcels he farms are all certified organic and reside in the hills. Mencia grown in warm climates become somewhat tannic so the well-traveled Trousseau, originally from Jura, France but grown in northern Spain for hundreds of years and here called Bastardo, is used in the blend, along with Garnacha Tintorerra (Alicante Bouschet) added for color and some extra fruity oomph.  Large format, neutral barrel and stainless steel tank aging gives just the right amount of oxygen to develop the wine without sacrificing fruit flavor. This is a light red that doesn’t lack depth:  Cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, tangerine, red apple skin, clove and anis, fresh flowers and gravel with medium plus acid and light tannins. Great with a chill and, as they would in Galicia,  some stuffed peppers, sausages, heavy grilled seafoods and alpine style cheeses.