2017 Losada Vinos de Finca, Bierzo

( £13.98, 14.5%, Jascots )

Sometimes called Pájaro Rojo because of its distinctive red bird label, this entry-point Mencía from Losada’s winemaker Amancio Fernández Gómez is a wonderful example of a distinctive Spanish grape. Produced from old vines on clay soils – not the slate that’s more common in Bierzo – this is plush, lightly oaked and comparatively ripe, with softer tannins and lower acidity than many of its competitors, but showing the variety’s classic red berry fruit and herbal undertone. Appealingly refreshing for a wine with 14.5% alcohol.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Spain, Red, Mencia

2011 Guímaro Mencia, Ribeira Sacra

( £10.95, 14.5%, The Wine Society )

Made entirely from the Mencia grape (think Tempranaillo crossed with Cabernet France in style) this is a perfumed, refreshing red that carries its 14.5% alcohol without any apparent struggle. Pepper spicy and aromatic, with notes of wild thyme and lavender, this unoaked, faintly chewy red is a delight. Great with roast lamb. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Spain, Red, Mencia