Mencía is a Spanish grape variety primarily found in the northwestern part of the country. It is planted on over 9,100 hectares (22,000 acres), and it is primarily found in the Bierzo, Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras regions.
Most wines produced from Mencía have traditionally been light, pale, relatively fragrant red wines for early consumption. This style of wine was the result of post-Phylloxera plantations on fertile plains, which tended to give high yields but diluted wine. In recent years, much more concentrated and complex wines have been produced by a new generation of winemakers, primarily from old vines growing on hillsides, often on schist soils, in combination with careful vineyard management. This has led to a renewed interest in Mencía and the Denominaciones de Origen using it, such as Bierzo, Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra and the little-known Liébana.
Since the 1990s, the grape is increasing in popularity, and an increasing number of noted Spanish winemakers are now working with it.
Instead, DNA profiling carried out by the Department of Vegetal Biology of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid has concluded that Mencía is identical to Portugal's Jaen do Dão (or Jaen for short) grape variety.
Over the years, Mencía has been known under a variety of synonyms including: Fernao Pires Tinta, Giao, Jaen, Loureiro Tinto, Mencin, Negra, Negro, Mencia Roble, Tinto Mencia and Tinto Mollar.