Once again, I'm following in the footsteps of Jeff at Viva la Wino in tasting the Luna Beberide 1999 Tinto. It's a $20 wine from Castilla y Leon in northern Spain with over a decade of age on it. What really pulled me in, though, is the curious blend of 30% Mencia (an indigenous grape) with 40% Cabernet and 30% Merlot (Bordeaux varietals).
While this is a decent wine, it didn't really have a wow factor for me. There's plenty of life left in it, but it tasted like a fairly green and extracted Bordeaux blend. The nose opened with a medicinal cherry aroma, but evolved to show mostly dried herbs, mint and bell pepper. Although I like green aromas, the flavors essentially mirrored the bouquet. The acidity is high, and there's a definite seam of rustic tannin complementing herbaceousness on the finish.
From my perspective, this bottle--for older wines, there are great bottles, not great wines--seemed to have lost most of its primary fruit, yet hadn't developed much in the way of tertiary characteristics. However, there's plenty of structure, and this would be a relatively inexpensive wine to lay down for even longer. I'll probably stick with varietal Mencia in the future, though, as it works better for me expressing itself as opposed to blending into a Bordeaux-styled wine.
Pros: Herbaceous, Fresh, Mellow Tannins
Cons: One Dimensional
Decant: Yes, there is sediment
Price: $20 from K&L Wines
QPR: Fair (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)