|91||Vinous Media||(aged for 14 months in French oak barriques, half of them new): Brilliant, bright ruby. Sexy, mineral-laced black raspberry and potpourri scents are complemented by vanilla and allspice. Sweet, seamless and incisive, offering juicy red and dark berry flavors that fatten up and stretch out with aeration. Leads with finesse, not force, with smooth tannins adding gentle finishing grip. These vines, which are planted in a single plot, are now more than 60 years old. 2019 – 2023|
|90+||View from the Cellar||The 2012 Finca la Cuesta from Luna Beberide is quite a ripe example of Mencía, tipping the scales at a full 14.5 percent alcohol. The wine is produced from sixty year-old vines and raised in a fifty-fifty blend of new and one wine French casks. The 2012 offers up a deep and complex nose of sweet dark berries, slate, espresso, gentle botanicals and lead pencil-like new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a fine core, lovely Mencía poise and a long, slightly warm and discreetly tannic finish. These old vines have really produced fine raw materials, but I am not really sure what the French oak influence brings to the party, as it seems to obscure much of the soil flavors here, while poking out with just a touch of tannin as well on the backend. If the team at Luna Beberide will just keep using the same casks for the next ten years, the wood should integrate even better and the soil elements here (which hover in the background) could more fully take their proper place and the wine would really shine! I assume the 14.5 percent alcohol level here is simply reflective of the extraordinary nature of the 2012 vintage, as it is a bit too high for greatness, and I look forward to tasting future vintages, which I hope to see in the thirteen percent range. This is a very good wine in 2012, but it could be spectacular with just a bit less octane and makeup! 2016-2025+.|
|88||Wine Spectator||This firm red delivers a beam of cherry fruit, framed with smoke, licorice and mineral notes. Not a muscular wine, but has density and grip, with enough acidity for balance. Mencía. Drink now through 2023.|
|92||View from the Cellar||The Finca la Cuesta bottling of Mencía from Luna Beberide is and old vine cuvée, with the vines ranging from sixty to seventy years of age and the wine raised in a blend new and one year-old French barrels. The 2015 version is an excellent follow-up to the fine 2014 bottling, delivering a refined bouquet of cassis, pomegranate, espresso, a complex base of soil, cigar smoke, a touch of tree bark and a very discreet base of cedary oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full and plenty solid at the core, with good acids, ripe tannins and excellent focus and grip on the beautifully-balanced, nascently complex finish. This has a bit more mid-palate depth than the 2016 regular bottling of Mencía, as well as a bit more tannin and deserves a year or two in the cellar to start to blossom properly. Another superb value from Luna Beberide! 2020-2040+.
Issue #75 – May/June 2018
|92||Wine Review Online||I'm quite sure that I've tasted every vintage of Finca la Cuesta ever made at Luna Beberide, and there's no question in my mind that this is the best of all of them. In fact, it was as good as some vintages as Luna Beberide's "Art" bottling of Mencía, which is a wine that rings up at more than twice this price. As an aside, lest you conclude that I've lost my critical edge, the 2015 regular, un-oaked "LB" bottling of Mencía was very disappointing, especially in view of this being a vintage that winemakers in Bierzo are quite excited about. There's always a chance that I had an unrepresentative bottle of 2015 LB, so I'll be looking for another bottle to try. What you should be looking for is this terrific Finca la Cuesta, which is an object lesson in Mencía's uncanny ability be be fresh and bright while also showing real depth and guts. The faint violet aromatic topnote is lovely, and subtle scents of spices also lend interest. The wine is really medium-bodied, but "punches above its weight" with excellent fruit intensity and an impressively long finish. For $22, this is undoubtedly one of the strongest values I've tasted during 2017, and a wine that I'd pour with pride in my home regardless of who was at my table. Indeed, King Felipe VI, should you drop by, I promise to crack open a bottle of this for you.
Michael Franz; July 25, 2017
|92||Wine & Spirits Magazine||Finca la Cuesta was planted more than 60 years ago on the slate-and-clay soils of Villafranca de Bierzo. This wine’s black fruit flavors are tart and compact, the structure tight and firm, with tannins that need time to expand. For the moment, it feels closed on itself. Decant a bottle for braised veal, or leave it in the cellar for two to three years.
August 2018 Issue
|91||The Wine Advocate||The 2015 Finca la Cuesta was still a little oaky when I tasted it, but it had the herbal and pungent character Mencía is sometimes capable of having. It felt slightly riper than the 2014 but without any excess. It's intense and concentrated, powerful and with balance. This should develop nicely in bottle. 50,000 bottles produced. Drink Date 2017 - 2021.
Issue 232, August 2017
|90||International Wine Report||A gorgeous value Bierzo, the 2015 Finca La Cuesta was sourced from estates 60 year old vines that are set on calcareous clay and slate soils. The nose entices with a nice combination of red and blue fruits with Asian spices rounding out. The palate shows really good tension and smoothness, as this feminine style wine builds in the glass and shows a seamless quality with lighter red fruits and a touch of milk chocolate.
|90||Wine Spectator||This red shows good density, with firm tannins and bright acidity supporting cherry, strawberry, mineral and smoky flavors. Rich and lively. Drink now through 2027.
July 31, 2018
|94||JamesSuckling.com||Crushed roses and violets with pepper and wild berries. The palate has a fleshy and succulent core of rich black-cherry flavor. Long and smooth with regal tannins. Classy stuff. Drink or hold.
#63 - Top 100 Spanish Wines of 2018