An old memory from living broke in a basement. Originally thought to be a cousin of Cab Franc, this grape (“Mencia”) is actually genetically the same as a grape called “Jaen” from Portugal, which… I’ve never tried. This is great easy-drinking with enough character to accompany food, especially middle eastern spices (thanks @Sarma!). Makes sense. These grapes were probably planted sometime during the Muslim reign in Spain (finally got to use that in a sentence other than Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady), which means they were imported from Grecian or Turkish soil. OR, these grapes were originally cultivated along the mediterranean and the cuisine was deeply impacted by the Muslim presence.
I’m going to hunt down some Jaen now and see how the effects of different climate/soil/production impact the same grape.
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