Spain has been known, especially Rioja, for fine wines for a very long time.
Bierzo, in Galicia, tucked into the northwestern corner of Spain, was already producing wine when Roman legionnaires invaded the land. They expanded vineyards to satisfy their daily ration of one litre of wine per soldier.
The terraced vineyards prove the arduous task they undertook. Even Pliny the Elder wrote about Bierzo wines and praised the reds.
Winemaking flourished in the Middle Ages when local religious orders, particularly the Cistercian monks, contributed to the production partially for their own needs, and partially to generate cash for their buildings.
In Bierzo, mencia for reds, and godello fro whites are preferred varieties. Mencia covers 75 per cent of the vineyards
The mountainous region, close to the Atlantic Ocean has a terroir superbly suited for viticulture.
In the hands of the right vintners, red wine made using mencia can be enjoyed young or aged. All such wines develop great balance of acidity, extract, and alcohol levels, with ripe tannins that work perfectly with food.
Over oaked, or over extracted, or both red Bierzo wines they do not taste right.
Here, making wine must be made as nature intended, and those who follow this mantra can succeed.
Godello may become very successful if planted on the right soil, yielding structured wines with appropriate acidity.