El Bierzo DO is a wine region tucked away in the province of León – among the
most exciting Spanish frontiers and source of some of its most qualitative wine.
The fertile plain and forests of this lush valley situated between the Montes de
Leon and Cordillera Cantábrica mountain ranges is referred to as the ‘gateway
to Galicia’ as its geography is a funnel into this verdant corner of northwestern
Iberia. Though it’s a relatively small wine growing area, it benefits from a special
microclimate that is equally conducive to cultivation of red and white vine stock.
Despite being a lesser-known region in terms of international markets, the 55
prolific Bodegas here are outputting an impressive11million liters annually and
still sustainably expanding.
Under the watchful guidance of master wine maker, José Luis Vázquez Santín,
Bodega del Abad (the ‘Abbot’s Cellar’) has only been active as an independent
producer since 2003, but already boasts a loyal following that was reinforced
by a surprising release several years ago of a 2001 Crianza-grade cache that
had been hiding somewhere in the back corners of their cellars. This week’s
DéClassé offering of a 2006 bottling is also surprising. In both cases, the wine
is well beyond the mandated 2 years of combined ageing to qualify for a Crianza
designation. The vintner has exercised significant patience in assuring that the
vintage has the balance of being fully rounded and mature, while still possessing
some soft fruitful vigor wrapped in chocolate flavours.
These attributes are a winemaking accomplishment due in part to the modern
production techniques being applied, but also a result of the innate potential of
Mencia. Indigenous to Bierzo, the variety is now considered to be one of the four
most important Spanish red wine grapes. Producing small, compact clusters of
medium-sized, violet-blue berries, its renaissance of popularity is founded on an
ability to yield age-worthy wine at a relatively modest price point. 35 hectares of
Bodega del Abad’s vineyards are located up on steep terrain made up of slate
and quartzite-laden soils. The properties mix of old vines, with some approaching
70 years-of-age, are yielding meticulously handpicked and sorted fruit; creating
wines with a characteristic, velvety palate.
This is both ready to go now and will hold up for nicely for several more years. It
will likely fly off the shelves quickly as word of this formerly hidden gem spreads.
So buy enough to get you through an upcoming Summer and Fall – while you can!
ABAD DOM BUENO CRIANZA 2006
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #244699 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 15.95
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD
Made in: Bierzo, Spain
By: Bodega Del Abad
Release Date: April 18, 2015
Having aged gracefully, this offers juicy red cherry and currant flavours. A core
of gentle tannins and some refreshing acidity enhances the soft notes of black
pepper and tea leaf flavours. Serve with rich poultry dishes, roast leg of lamb,
marinated steak or spicy beef empanadas.