Saturday, September 25, 2010


A score of 90 and a pretty label were enough to convince me to try this red from Bierzo Spain.

I shared a bottle with a friend on the boat on a sunny afternoon, and liked it so much I brought the empty bottle home so I could record it as a favourite.

A little googling informs me that the creator is Alvaro Palacios, who Decanter calls Spain's most talked about winemaker. In Petalos he's sharing a small, black Spanish native called the Mencia grape, and he is applying Bordeaux methods to produce intense flavours. The Mencia was almost forgotten, and is grown in only a small area in north-west Spain -  Bierzo - on steep & slatey hillsides.  Palacios also has bodegas in Rioja and Priorat whose fruit I'd love to taste.  There is a release coming in October that is already reviewed on the LCBO site as a "price/quality ratio that scews crazily in your favour".

The Petalos, meanwhile, is given a score of 90 by The Wine Advocate's Jay Miller, who writes:
The entry-level 2008 Petalos del Bierzo is sourced from rented vineyards ranging in age from 40-90 years. It spends a few weeks in new French barriques followed by 6-10 months in seasoned oak. Purple in color with an alluring nose of lavender, incense, spice box, black cherry, and blueberry, on the palate it has excellent volume, intensity, and layered fruit. It has the structure to evolve for 1-2 years but can be approached now. It is an outstanding value and introduction to the Mencia grape.

Wondering what a Barrique is?  Winedoctor has the cure:

Barrique (France)
The barrique is a wooden barrel, the design of which originated in Bordeaux, France. It has a capacity of 225 litres. It can now be found in the cellars of winemakers worldwide, especially those involved in producing Bordeaux-style blends of quality. The longer a wine spends in barrel the more of the oak flavour it will take on. Strong flavours also result when the alcoholic fermentation takes place en barrique. There are dozens of other barrel shapes and sizes - one commonly found in the New World is the hogshead.

Barrique photo
More info on Alvaro Palacios

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