Tilenus Wine Wins Awards while France and Italy have seen declines in their vineyard land the past six years, Spain is on the increase. A fine example is Bodegas Estefania, which produces some of the most sought-after wine. They are located in Bierzo, Spain, which is in the northwest part of the country, east of Rias-Baizas and north of Portugal.
Previously known as Spain's "lost" wine region, the zone has been planted to vines for centuries but has been ignored by quality producers until recently. Their spectacular vine holdings have been in the family for many years. These holdings include 36 hectares of vineyards planted on pure schist.
Most of the vines are planted on extremely steep slopes at very high elevations. These conditions are ideal for the Mencia grape. The average vines are at least 50 years old with many as old as 100. The harvest is carried out completely by hand at the bodega in small crates before passing through a triage at the winery. It is important to reach optimal maturity to avoid the vegetal and green notes that are often found in the zone. So, the wines go through an extended maceration before being age in both tank and oak barrels for several months, depending on the cuvee.
Bodegas Estefania's award-winning wines are made with Mencia grapes, which thrives, in the cooler climates in the region. The Mencia grape carries a firm mineral and acid backbone with very delicate notes of violet and wild berries giving it freshness and complexity. Though a relatively newcomer to the wine scene the Bodegas Estefanis and their wines are winning countless awards and winning support in the wine industries. The Tilenus Crianza, which is 100% Mencia with vines over 60 years old, received 90 points awarded by "The Wine Advocate: Robert Parker".
Parker says: "Made from 100% Mencia the 2000 Crianza was aged 12 months in French oak. Its dense black/ruby color is accompanied by a sweet perfume of minerals, flowers, blackberries and cherries. Elegant, remarkably well-delineated and medium-bodied, is measured but extremely stylish." This wine has a 25-day maceration, fermented in tank and barrel. Spending 14-16 months in 1-3 year old French oak barrels.
This wine is also known as extremely well balanced with terrific viscosity in the mouth. The Tilenus Roble Semi-Crianza, which is 100% Mencia with vines over forty years old. It has a 20-day maceration period and is fermented in tank. Then it ages 7 months in French oak (one year).
This wine has great forward fruit profile with a backbone of fresh acidity. The Tilenus Pagos de Posada is also 100% Mencia with vines over 80 to 100 years old. The fermentation is done in tank and some barrel. Then it ages 18 months in 70% new French oak and 30% older barrels. This wine has been described as having the backbone and structure of a top Syrah from high altitude with the texture of a spectacular Cotes de Nuits. Bodegas Estenfania are establishing themselves as a serious winery, not just in Spain but also throughout the world as scene by its October 2004 selection as one of the best 20 new wineries in the world by the Food & Wine Magazine.
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