Fruit for this wine is sourced from a steeply-sloped, south-facing vineyard in Villafranca de Bierzo. The vineyard is 750-800 meters in elevation and is planted to 60 year old vine Mencia. Yields are 25 hl/ha. The soils are comprised of Bierzo’s two main soil types, decomposed slate and limestone based clay. Following fermentation with native yeasts in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, the wine was aged for 12 months in 100% French oak barrels, new and 1 year old. Bottled unfiltered.
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+. Issue Sixty-One January-February 2016
(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 Atlantic Spain
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. Issue August 31, 2015