Though technically a part of the more famous Spanish region of Castilla-Y-León, Bierzo (a D.O.P. established in 1989) has more in common with the cool, wet Galician peninsula than the hot, central plain. Bierzo is located inland from the northwestern coast of Spain, sheltered from the climatic excesses of the Atlantic and the Central Plateau. The Atlantic coastal area presents a wet and windy environment, while the inland Central Plateau challenges with very hot and dry growing conditions. Bierzo sits between the two climatic extremes. As a result, Bierzo is defined as having a warm summer Mediterranean climate The soils are predominantly well-drained quartz and slate and the red varietal of choice, Mencia, is unique to the northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. For many years there was an apocryphal theory that Mencia might be Cabernet Franc bought to the region by pilgrims visiting the nearby shrine at Santiago de Compostela but DNA testing has quashed that rumour. Mencia is local to Bierzo. The best local whites are made from Godello.
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