Descendientes de Jose Palacios

Descendientes de José Palacios, aka Ricardo Pérez Palacios and Álvaro Palacios, are giving the last touches to their brand new, highly impressive winery in Corullón. I tasted their 2014s and 2015s, both impressive—2014 a much wetter year which resulted in cooler wines despite the fact that the average temperature of the year was higher than that of 2015. 2014 is a similar vintage to 2013, and 2016 will be along the same lines. 2015 is a slightly riper but very complete vintage but in no way as warm as 2011 or 2009; according to Ricardo, a floral and more expressive version of 2010. In general, the 2014s were magic, and the 2014 La Faraona was simply stratospheric! It’s impressive how they could be improving after so many years, and let’s see what happens when they have the new winery working….

In the meantime, Ricardo Pérez Palacios, working within the Bierzo appellation, has promoted a new structure of categories for the wines: the regional ones, Bierzo; the village wines, “vino de vill”; unclassified crus (the equivalent of the lieu-dits of Burgundy), “vino de paraje”; 1er crus called “vino de viña clasificada”; and the grand crus, whose designation will be “vino de gran viña clasificada,” with requirements on yields and possibly age. Bierzo takes the lead in this.  LUIS GUTTIEREZ

Descendientes de Jose Palacios is one of 3 estates of the family of Alvaro Palacios: Alvaro’s personally named estate is the leading Garnacha producer in Priorat, the family ‘home’ (literally and viticulturally) is the Rioja estate, Palacios Remondo in Alfaro, the Bierzo Mencia.

The ‘Descendientes’ are Alvaro Palacios and his nephew, Ricardo Perez Palacios, both of whom grew up in the Palacios family home in Alfaro, Rioja. Both are descendants of Alvaro’s father, Jose Palacios, who died in 2000, just as the first Bierzo wines were being prepared and for whom the Bierzo project was then named.

DJP commenced in 1999, when the young Ricardo was studying permaculture in Leon, subsequent to his viticultural studies in Bordeaux. Ricardo came across some very old plantings of Mencia high on the mountain slopes above the village of Corullón, and recognised these as heritage material of great potential and importance, just as Alvaro had done a decade earlier with the remnant old autochthonous Garnatxas of Priorat. Alvaro was summonsed to inspect and an immediate decision was made to invest and investigate. Ever since, Ricardo and Alvaro have been purchasing and renovating old vineyards, massale propagating heritage genetic material throughout their holdings, refining how to grow and vinify Mencia. SCOTT WASLEY