OT: Pétalos del Bierzo 2012

20150124_140931 Probably one of my favourite wines, if not my favourite wine for every special occasion:

  • Winery: Bodega Descendientes de J. Palacios S. L. Calvo Sotelo, 6. Villafranca del Bierzo (León). The winery Descendants of J. Palacios emerged in 1999, has a total of 27 acres. with strains of high quality, production is done by biodynamic methods. They get this wine with fresh, smell and taste good reflection of Bierzo. The vineyards are divided into small plots on different altitudes because the terrain consists of steep slopes.  
  • Phone: +34 987 54 08 21
  • Winemaker: Álvaro Palacios / Ricardo P. Palacios
  • Website: n/a.
  • Brand: Pétalos del Bierzo
  • DO: Bierzo
  • Type: Red wine Crianza 2012. 14%. It is fermented with the entire grapes without being previously desteemed. The wine is left to stand for four months in French oak barrels.
  • Grapes Variety: 95% Mencía, 3% Uva Blanca, 2% Alicante Bouschet and other local varieties. 
  • Vineyards: 80% of the grapes comes from selected vineyards in the town of Corullón, and 20% is selected from several vineyards in the municipalities hills of: Valtuille, Villadecanes, Paradones and Villafranca del Bierzo. The age of the vines is 40-90 years.
  • Soil: The local soils are extremely poor, composed mostly of schist but with incredible diversity.
  • Bottle Size: 75.0 cl.
  • Price: 13,10 € in Lavinia.
  • My wine rating: 9.8/10

Pétalos del Bierzo comes across as a young and fragrant wine, conveying to perfection all the nuances of El Bierzo region: old vineyards planted in rugged slaty soils lined with stone that produce the best Mencía. A great wine boasting an unexpected freshness, mineral hues, refinement and balance. The 2011 vintage was named best Spanish wine by Parker for its value for money. Following suit, this 2012 vintage also comes across as a great and surprisingly fresh wine, with its characteristic mineral hues. On the palate, it proves remarkably refined and well-balanced.

“At the end of the day, if I really have to recommend a wine from this collection, the one I’d buy for my cellar, it will be the 2011 Petalos del Bierzo. It is 95% Mencia mixed in the field with 3% of white grapes and the rest Alicante Bouschet and other reds, fermented after de-stemming in open wood and inox vats and aged ten months in French barrels, of which 20% are new. Eighty percent of the grapes are grown on slate in the Corullon vineyards, with different altitudes and orientations, and the remaining 20% come from clay soils from the valley. It all adds to the complexity of the wine. The wine is very aromatic and flowery (violets), almost heady, with clear notes of blueberries and licorice. The oak is perfectly integrated, almost imperceptible, save for a touch of spices and a lactic hint denoting a very young wine. It has a medium body, with a thick silky texture, is very tasty, with some acidic strawberry flavors. This is one of my go-to wines at restaurant lists, as it offers very good value for money and is widely available in Spain (and elsewhere, I hope!), as 320,000 bottles were produced. This could very well be the best Petalos produced to date. Drink now through 2019”. (The Wine Advocate) Source: Bodeboca.

Read more about Bierzo, Mencía and Álvaro Palacios:

Bierzo is a natural region located in the northwest of the Spanish province of León, in the Castile and León. With 2,954.28 km2, covering 18% of the provincial area. Geographically it borders the provinces of Orense, Lugo, Asturias and the following areas of Leon: La Montaña (Murias de Paredes and Laciana), Cabrera and La Meseta, thus being a transition zone between Galicia, León and Asturias. The area of wines ​​production under this Denominacion de Origen is located in the municipalities that the Regulator Board considers suitable for grape growth. Bierzo is a set of small valleys in a mountain area and a wide flat depression, ´el bajo Bierzo´, that will shape the types of crops.  Bierzo has a very special microclimate, very suitable to the crops in the area. A soft climate, rather mild regulated by a certain humidity, all of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that el Bierzo is situated in a valley. Its climate is similar to the Galician as far as moisture is concerned and on the other hand is dry as the Castile climate, which makes it very distinctive keeping a water balance to which another advantage is added, Bierzo low altitude generally prevents late frosts which is quite benign to vintage that is normally about one month ahead of the rest of Castile. Bierzo Denominacion de Origen wines must elaborated exclusively with the following varieties: Mencía, Garnacha tintorera, Godello, Doña blanca and Palomino. (Source: Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Bierzo)

Mencia is a red-wine grape native to the northwest of Spain. It is most commonly associated with the red wines of Bierzo, which were once light and astringent, but since the discovery of low-yielding vines planted on poor soils high on the hills, have become more intense and concentrated, attracting the attention of the wine-drinking world. Mencia wines tend to exhibit earthy, vegetal characters with berry nuances and stony minerality. The variety, with its thick-skinned, violet-blue grapes, was once thought to be related to Cabernet Franc. Modern DNA testing has disproved this theory, however, but has uncovered that it is in fact genetically identical to Portugal’s Jaen. This has led to some uncertainty as to the origin of the variety: while most signs point to Bierzo as Mencia’s home, it could well have been brought there from Dao in Portugal. Mencia’s role as a simple, regional grape variety used to make table wines has been challenged in recent years following the attention of famous Spanish producer Alvaro Palacios, one of the pioneers of the Priorat region in Catalonia. Old vines and Bierzo’s dramatic, high-altitude terroir have proved useful for the quality of the wines, helped along by improved viticultural methods and extra vigilance in the winery. Wines today are more likely to have a bright complexion with a vivid maroon color, fresh acidity and tannins, and dark-fruit flavors with a herbal dimension of mint or thyme. Mencia is quite fussy in the vineyard, and has a tendency toward low yields, making it a challenging prospect for growers and winemakers. It is susceptible to botrytis and mildew, and can lose its characteristic acidity quickly if not harvested promptly. Mencia’s high alcohol and high acidity must be kept in check to retain the wine’s balance. Oak is used sparingly, as it can overwhelm Mencia’s rather delicate flavor profile. Outside of Bierzo, Mencia is found in several other northwestern Spain DOs, among them Valdeorras, Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra. (Source: wine-searcher)

Álvaro Palacios A Passion for Mencía: Tasting Bierzo with Alvaro Palacios (Video) WineSpectator.com

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