Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Descendientes de José Palacios Pétallos, Bierzo

I initially learnt about the Mencía grape, an indigenous red variety of Northwestern Spain, by reading Eric Asmov’s Wines of the Times article ‘Bierzo, a New Taste of Spain’ last year. Unfortunately, there were so many other wines to be tasted and the effort of trying a wine composed of Mencía has been put off until now.

Browsing through the racks of Tinto Fino, a tiny but well organized wine shop in the East Village that specialized in Spanish wines earlier last month, I noticed one of the wines Eric mentioned, the Descendientes de José Palacios Pétallos, placed in the Castilla y León section, and I decided to pick one up and see what it taste like.

Doing some research via Google, I found out that Descendientes de José Palacios is a joint venture created in 1998 between Ricardo Perez and his uncle Alvaro Palacios who is of course famous for the "L’Ermita" and "Finca Dofi" from Priorat. The name of this project is created in honor of Alvaro’s father and Ricardo’s grandfather, José. The Palacios lineup contains four more expansive ($75-125), ‘cru- level’ cuvees: Las Lamas, Moncerbal, Fontelas and St. Martin and two lower-priced regional cuvees: Villa de Corullón (~$50) and Pétallos (~$20). The grapes of all these cuvees come from vineyards in Corullón and surrounding towns where the soils are composed of mostly schist over chalk. The age of the vines is generally between 40-90 years old.

ABV: 14%, Price paid: $21

Tasting Notes:

Color: Inky purple, tight rims.

Nose: Initially very tight only showing herbaceous notes (reminds me of a young Cab.Franc). After 15 minutes, aroma of plum and dried cherry pops out with hints of cooked meat.

Body: Medium to full. Very balanced.

Palate: Lush and extracted with bright dark fruit flavor. Quite thick and creamy (feels like melted milk chocolate). The wine is bit chewy and chalky with hints of oak. Smooth tannins balanced by adequate acidity. However, the fruit profile is not particularly focused and the wine show a little bit of heat at the back palate.

Finish: Medium at best. It is quite dry with notes of black pepper supporting the dark cherry flavor.

The Pétallos is a nice effort in exhibiting the characteristic of the Mencía grape. Being aged in 2-3 years old oak barrels, the wine is made in the new-world style but does not present itself as a fruit bomb or overly oaked. This is a middle-of-the road wine that is very pleasant to drink but will not 'wow' anybody. It is also a bit thick as a standalone sipper but pairs well with meat dishes or saucy food.


Eddie H. said...

I just checked out your blog for the first time, and it's great. I especially like the easy to read format of your tasting notes. Keep up the great work!

RougeAndBlanc said...

Thanks for dropping by. Glad you like it.

Joe said...

Nice, Andrew, I had this a few months ago. Great comments.

RougeAndBlanc said...

Thanks and welcome back. Hope you had a nice stay in NY.
Yes, I really like Mencia and look out for more posting regarding this varietal in the future.