Bierzo is the home of the fabulous Mencia grape variety. This is a wonderful grape, combining the peppery richness of Syrah with a fresh precision much more like Pinot Noir. Just like Pinot, it is also a bit of a pig to work with, and many of the wines made from it are reductive or with uneven ripeness and so quite unpleasant to drink. However, in the rare case that a sensitive hand is in place in the winery and an equally sensitive person is working the land, the results can be quite profound. Bodegas Peique is located on the Castro de la Ventosa, the old pre-Roman heartland of Bierzo. Here the vines average over 60 years old, and the emphasis is on purity rather than concentration. As the reds go up the price range there is more old oak used, an unusual mixture of French, Russian and American oak barrels, and the wines become more complex.