Owned by Alvaro Palacios and his nephew, Ricardo Perez, Descendientes de Jose Palacios produces extremely consistent and delicious wines. Having "conquered" Priorat Alvaro had been wanting to try something new. The timing was right as Ricardo had finished enological studies and was travelling across France in an effort to gain as much knowledge as possible. In 1998, the two decided to team up and seek out a region with three key indomitable ingredients: steep hillside vineyards, distinctive terroirs, and ancient Mencia vineyards. Enter the DO Bierzo.
Located in the Northwest corner of Spain (officially in the region of Castilla y León), Alvaro and Ricardo settled on the town of Corullón on Bierzo's western border. Here the hillsides were steep, the local soils in desperate need of attention, and the Mencia grapes old. As a matter of fact, the (100%) Mencia grapes used in Petalos del Bierzo are 40-90 years old. Additionally, the wine is oak-aged – first, in new French barrique for a few weeks; then an additional six to ten months in seasoned oak (second and third passage barrels). The wine (as well as the others from Palacios and Perez) are biodynamic and bottled without fining or filtration. This is the team's "entry-level" wine but you would never know by drinking it.
Gorgeous hues of purple fill the glass leading to aromas of spice, black cherry, and ripe blue fruit. On the palate, pleasing flavors of concentrated and layered red and blue fruits and white pepper spur on to hints of minerality. I paired this deliciously balanced wine with pork bratwurst (very similar to Spanish butifarra), white beans, and padrón peppers stuffed with a soft Spanish sheep's milk cheese. By the bye, I chose this wine expecting it would pair perfectly with the earthy flavors presented on the plate. I was right! Overall, this is an incredible wine; and at roughly $15-20 an inexpensive introduction to Bierzo and the Mencia grape.
Life is short. Drink Spanish wine!