Red wines from the northwest corner of Spain get far less attention than white wines from the region like the Albariños from Galicia that have become popular in recent years.

The red wines — most notably from the Mencía grape — are also now widely available and deserve more consideration as versatile food companions that are not overly tannic and ready to drink when relatively young.

In weight, texture, and taste, they remind me of both the Gamays of Beaujolais and Loire Valley Cabernet Francs — medium-bodied and relatively soft; a little less “grapey” than Beaujolais, and, in the better examples, showing a good deal of complexity with minerality and floral and herbal notes.

Get the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.

As climate change creates warmer conditions in other parts of Spain, there’s been new interest in these cool-climate red wines of the northwest. Parallel with that, as Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson note in the “The World Atlas of Wine,” “the pendulum of fashion has swung back in favour of wines that refresh rather than merely impress — a cue for cool, damp northwest Spain and its wines.”

Enter Mencía (pronounced men-THEE-ah), which is grown primarily in three DOs in northwest Spain: Ribeira Sacra and Valdeorras in Galicia, and Bierzo in neighboring Castile y León to the east.

Unlike other parts of Galicia, which mainly grow white varieties, Ribeira Sacra — the name means “sacred shore” — is dominated by Mencía production on steep, terraced hills. The region encompasses both the Minho and Sil rivers, which provide a cooling influence, as does the Atlantic Ocean.

Valdeorras, also along the river Sil, is the easternmost DO in Galicia and is dominated by the white Godello variety; Mencía is about 15 percent of the production. To the east, Bierzo is red wine country, with Mencía accounting for more than three-quarters of the production.

In all three areas, Mencía is often grown in slate (“pizarro” in Spanish) and granite soils, which help give the wines their minerality and freshness.

As you’ll note in the list below, another factor that makes these wines attractive is their prices. Many are in the $20 range, which makes them bargains given their quality, and one is a steal at just $10 or so.

Here are six Mencía wines from northwest Spain to try:

Grégory Pérez ‘Brezo’ Bierzo Mencía 2021

Grégory Pérez ‘Brezo’ Bierzo Mencía 2021 is one of the best Mencías from Northwest Spain.

This is a stunning wine value form Bierzo made from 85 percent Mencía and 15 percent Alicante Bouschet. As it opens up, concentrated blueberry, plum, and red berry flavors emerge, accented by hints of baking spices and smoke. The wine is made without oak, which lets the fruit dominate. Fine tannins make it effortless to drink.

Price: $10
Buy This Wine

Raul Pérez ‘Ultreia Saint Jacques’ Bierzo 2021

Raul Pérez ‘Ultreia Saint Jacques’ Bierzo 2021 is one of the best Mencías from Northwest Spain.

Slightly enclosed at first, this wine opens to reveal both dark and red fruits, including blackberry and raspberry, with subtle hints of herbs, meat, and smoke. There’s good acidity and an elegance here that reminded me of Bordeaux. Giving it time to breathe before pouring will bring out the flavors more quickly. The blend is mainly Mencía with some Alicante Bouschet and Trousseau.

Price: $25
Buy This Wine

Bodegas Avancia ‘Cuvée de O’ Valdeorras Mencía 2021

Bodegas Avancia ‘Cuvée de O’ Mencía Valdeorras 2021 is one of the best Mencías from Northwest Spain.

Concentrated blueberry and blackberry notes are infused with hints of black pepper and black licorice. There’s a chalky minerality and a good tannic structure in this well-balanced wine.

Price: $23
Buy This Wine

Adega Algueira Ribeira Sacra Mencía 2021

Adega Algueira Ribeira Sacra Mencía 2021 is one of the best Mencías from Northwest Spain.

After a few minutes of air, this mineral-driven wine opens up beautifully to reveal flavors of ripe red cherry, raspberry, and blackberry. There’s a powdered cinnamon note on the finish, and fine tannins give it elegance on the palate. The vines grow in slate and granite soils, which give the wine its mineral complexity.

Price: $18
Buy This Wine

Raul Pérez ‘Castro Ventosa’ Bierzo Mencía 2021

Raul Pérez ‘Castro Ventosa’ Bierzo Mencía 2021 is one of the best Mencías from Northwest Spain.

This unoaked expression really grew on me as it opened up. With a core of dark berry fruit flavors, its complexity emerges as it breathes, with minerals, black licorice, and herbs. Moderate tannins give the wine structure. It was even better when I tasted it again the next day.

Price: $18
Buy This Wine

Don Bernardino ‘Ibio’ Ribeira Sacra 2019

Don Bernardino ‘Ibio’ Ribeira Sacra 2019 is one of the best Mencías from Northwest Spain.

This wine has a rusticity that I loved, with aromas of concentrated blackberry, autumn fruit orchard, and a hint of bell pepper. Its fine tannins make it relatively soft on the palate, and alcohol of 14 percent gives it a bigger feel than some of the others. It would work wonders with barbecue or other highly seasoned meats.

Price: $22
Buy This Wine