Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2010 Bierzo, Spain
A few years ago I was introduced to this little gem from Spain, Pétalos, and was very impressed with the wine. Bierzo is a small appellation located in the northwest corner of Spain and produces wines that are more similar to those made in Galicia than the region to which it is attached: Old Castile. During the 1990s, with the help from a small group of winemakers, the name of Bierzo came to light. The main grape variety of the appellation, Mencía, is able to generate a fruity and well balanced wine (the unique red Mencía grape is said to have been brought to Spain by French pilgrims during the Middle-Ages, and believed to be related to the Cabernet Franc grape). Alvaro Palacios was among one of the pioneers in the region. Alvaro was a well-known winemaker and had several vineyards in Bierzo, Rioja and Priorat. In 1989, following his studies in Bordeaux and his lessons learned with the Moueix family, he decided to help the winemaker René Barbier in his project to start a new winery in Priorat. A few years later, Alvaro and his nephew Ricardo Perez Palacios founded the vineyard Descendientes J. Palacios and began to produce wine in Bierzo. They produce several excellent wines, including Pétalos.
The wine is made from 60+ year old vines and sits on French oak for 10 months. The 2010 vintage is actually a regional blend of grapes from 4 villages in the Bierzo valley. Pétalos has a deep maroon color and has tons of lovely fruit on the nose, cherries, blackberries and blueberries, complemented by a slight sweet spice. The wine is very smooth and brings forth the fruit well, with supple tannins, slight mineral tang and a dry finish that lingers nicely, excellent structure. I believe this wine should last a few years if you set some bottles aside, however I don’t have them long enough in my cellar to find out. This is one of my son’s favorite wines and it seems to disappear as quickly as I acquire it. For around $22 a bottle, the 2010 vintage will also disappear very quickly.