2019 Akilia “VSL” Mencía
98% Mencía/2% Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouchet) primarily from the 75-year-old Fontairo vineyard and some from the 95-year-old Villarín vineyard. Hand harvesting in small bins. Spontaneous fermentation, 30% carbonic maceration in a separate fermenter. 18-day maceration, max temperature 74F. Aged 8 months in concrete tank (80%) and used oak (20%). Low total SO2 (26 ppm). Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 900 cases produced.
The nose screams ‘cool climate red’ with some hints of acid, berries, something earthy and a vegetal twist; the palate is medium-bodied, with almost unnoticeable tannins and soft acidity. Fresh and approachable naked Mencía.
Making some of Bierzo’s most elegant wines, Akilia organically tends a handful of vineyards in the San Lorenzo district of the region, just south of Ponferrada. After training at La Fleur Petrus in Bordeaux, Mario Rovira returned to Spain in search of old indigenous varieties, a cool climate, interesting soils and slopes, and decided to set up camp in Bierzo. He co-owns Akilia with his mother, Marisol. Mario crafts his wines in a highly specific and intentional way, with great thought behind each decision and a focus on minimal intervention - gentle processing, slow and cool spontaneous fermentations, and low SO2.