If you have seen some of our posts this week, we are focusing on a single producer of ours to showcase as much about them as possible for the week. This producer is Bodegas Demencia.
Before we dive into more about Nacho Leon, the proprietor, and his project at Bodegas Demencia, let’s first visit the region he is located in: Bierzo
Pronounced Be-airtho (if you use the native Spanish tongue thing? Or whatever you call it. When you pronounce it out loud you will know what I mean!) , this region is located in the northwest of Spain, near Portugal (see the map below)
Bierzo is known for the red grape, Mencia (Men-thia) and is becoming more well regarded throughout the world of wine with each passing day. Many Spanish wine buffs believe Mencia could be Spain’s answer to the question every wine country seems to have at some point, “How do we compete with Pinot Noir from Burgundy?” Some go directly at it, really focusing on Pinot Noir, and others find a native grape that shows a sense of place and diversity among it, to help try and stand out. I also believe Mencia is that grape for Spain.
We won’t dive too far into this until we do a history post, but with the recent Mencia vineyard designations being passed, it is getting closer and closer to this every day….but I digress.
Mencia produces wine of great opulence, texture, delicacy, and really shows you where it was from, or as the French would say, terroir.
The white grape Godello (Go-dayo) is making a surge as welld ue to international appeal and overall drink-ability. Not in a Bud Light way, but in a “Oh my I love this wine, I want to drink it until my face falls off”, way. The only issue arising is this wine does fetch hire prices than one would think (usually around $20 or higher) since people of the region are having to plant in places they COULD plant Mencia (which makes them more money), and plant this instead. This, as well as production of Godello being smaller at the time. This is a similar song and dance we have heard before, but just as true. Trust me when I say, in this instance, it is worth every penny.
Anyway, that was a quick aside to give you an idea what wines Bodegas Demencia is focusing on.
The pulse of this project is located in the historic city of Villafranca, right in the heart of Bierzo.
In this amazing place, the man of many hats (Winemaker, owner, marketer, and anything you can think og!) Nacho Leon operates Bodegas Demencia.M
Nacho comes from a corporate wine background, learning his ways from producers who know a thing or too about large scale wine production. Always wanting to do his own thing on a smaller scale, he took notes and learned as much as he could before going out on his own.
Bodegas Demencia is as organically farmed, sustain-ably practiced, natural and does anything and everything it can to preserve the integrity of the earth the grapes are grown in.
This doesn’t always appeal to me, mostly because I have heard this song & dance (Again with the song & dance line Keith? Yes, but it does apply!) before and it normally turns me off, being used as a marketing tool these days as much as anything. I just don’t like when people take advantage of the wine drinking public to try to push a fake agenda on them just to sell some wine. It’s neither true completely or fair in those cases.
In cases when you can feel the passion coming out of the persons soul, and it is their true belief that this is the best way to make wine and their duty to do so, those cases are when it all makes sense and you can really feel it in the finished wine. Nacho Leon and Bodegas Demencia is one of those cases.
Natural bush vines abound through all of the vineyards they make wine from. Some in the valley of Bierzo protected by mountains on both sides. Some on the cooler slopes on the opposite end, all from older vineyards. His family actually owns a vineyard in one section that is the oldest of the plot, and he was followed their by some more “famous” people we will not name. Needless to say, this gentlemen is doing this the right way.
Out of the vineyard and into the cellar brings us to a garage. Yes, a garage. This is a little bit of a bigger version of a garage winery, but still very small. He is working on getting bigger, but being as young as only 2006, he is still moving in that direction. In one portion of the garage is his barrel room and it is packed full. He is operating as efficiently as possible, and who can fault him? At this size it is necessary, and makes the allure of what he is doing even more special.
Since the wines being importing to the US are going to be a finite number each year, getting your hands on them will be tough, but also worth while when you do.
He is doing many things at the winery, including releasing many different vintages of his namesake Mencia, a lineup of more approachable wines called “Pyjama”, and even Tempranillo he sources from Ribera del Duero.
His whole production currently is focused on mostly Mencia, the red grape we spoke of, with a little Godello in both different bottlings (Demencia Godello and Pyjama Godello). He is experimenting with some other varietals as well, which is super exciting.
None more so than the Taruguin Tempranillo, sourced from Ribera del Duero. Normally when drinking wine like this you won’t get the higher altitude, more reserved, elegant style of Tempranillo. In this case, you do. Nacho is a wizard when it comes to balance and we couldn’t be more excitd for you to taste his wines.
We will focus more on the wines themselves once we launch our “New Wine Friday” series of posts and videos, but for now, we hope you enjoyed learning some about Bodegas Demencia and Nacho Leon. Stay tuned for when the wines become available, closer to the later part of the fall.
Until next time,