2018 Descendientes de Jose Palacios Petalos del Bierzo

Year: 2018
Appellation: Bierzo
Country: Spain
Wine Advocate: 93+
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.1%
Price :
$17.95
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"Their regional wine achieves unheard of levels of complexity and nuance with the 2018 Pétalos del Bierzo. It's a blend from over 90 hectares of vineyards in different part of Bierzo, 20% of the grapes from their own vineyards in Corullón, including some 4% white grapes. The rest is purchased from 180+ families with whom they have a long-term relationship. Some of these vineyards are not yet certified organic, but the objective is to achieve it in the next five years. It's mostly Mencía, but there are other grapes varieties in the vineyards; they estimate about 3% of other reds, Alicante Bouschet, Gran Negro, Pan y Carne, Negreda, etc. and around 4% whites, Valenciana, Jerez and Godello, half from Corullón and the other half from other villages. The grapes were partly destemmed and fermented in open-top stainless steel and oak vats with 25 days of maceration where the wine underwent a slow three-month malolactic. It matured in barrel for 12 months. This is the wine that showcases the house style and the character of the vintage, which, in this case, is delicate and very much from the zone. There is an aromatic purity and elegance that is very captivating with a faint flinty background, the cherry essence (Mediterranean) and a touch of fern (Atlantic) plus a honeyed twist that shows up after a couple of hours in the glass. It has a silky texture, soft and caressing, with very fine tannins and the faint bitter twist in the finish. In an ideal world, this should be the first wine people drink from Bierzo, and fortunately, in many cases, it is, given the availability, even if they did a more severe selection. This is approachable now but would be better in one year, and it's going to live in bottle. 282,038 bottles and 2,500 magnums produced. It was bottled between December 2019 and January 2020.

This isn't big news, because these notes were published a couple of weeks ago as part of the article about the whole Álvaro Palacios 2020 portfolio. But I wanted to also include them here again for context within the region and the exceptional 2018 vintage in Bierzo.

The vintage is often described as a return to "normal" conditions, which here means a moderately humid and mild spring, quite rainy toward the end, with drier and more Mediterranean conditions in July and August. There were 950 liters of total rainfall, and the temperatures were slightly lower than the average—they even had a snowy winter, something they had not seen in recent years—and the weather didn't turn until around the 10th of June, popularly known as the 40th of May, when summer conditions used to arrive in the past.

This is the best collection they have produced since they set foot in Bierzo in 1999. And to understand my excitement, let me just summarize it as the best vintage ever for the most coherent, reliable and serious wine project in Spain. Simply breathtaking. Bravo!!" (WA)