Descendientes de Jose Palacios Petalos Mencia 2017

…the modern history of wine in Bierzo can be dated to 1999, with the launch of the first wines by Descendientes de J Palacios. It was the renaissance of the Mencia variety. LUIS GUTIERREZ, The New Vignerons

Ricardo Palacios, nephew of the famous Alvaro of Priorat, could be credited with revitalising the Bierzo region, bringing its unusual combination of Atlantic-influenced climate and extensive area of old vines and some steep, slate slopes. JANCIS ROBINSON

Team PWS have been on the Mencia train for many years now.  It is a grape that hails from Spains wild north west, populating appellations along the river Sil from Bierzo, through Valdeorras, Ribeira Sacra to Ribeiro.  They are aromatically complex wines which generally posses plenty of fruit, texture and richness with the best examples are underpinned by lip smacking acidity. There’s enough fruit to satisfy intrepid Shiraz drinkers looking to explore wines in the more delicate ‘Pinot Noir’ territory and enough tension and aromatics to please the acid hounds amongst us too.  As with all good wine, balance is the key here.

Personally my Mencia journey started in the early 2000’s with a bottle Descendientes de J Palacios (DJP) Pétalos from Bierzo. It was a modern, characterful and unique wine from a part of the world I knew very little about.  Although it was familiar in the glass the wine didn’t lose the voice of the almost forgotten varieties that were used make it. Yes, although Mencia makes up the most of the wine, these vineyards are old and co-planted with many other local and obscure varieties. The mix of these red and white grapes are not huge and don’t need to be put on the label.

DJP is a fascinating case study of the region, it is a partnership between the legendary Alvaro Palacios of Rioja & Priorat fame and his nephew Ricardo. They established themselves in Bierzo 1999.  Today they own 40 hectares and work with more than 120 growers (some of which only own a half dozen vines) to fill the ever growing demand for their superb wines.  The region is fragmented and the steep old vineyards not conducive to industrial farming at all.  Thus the logistics of such an operation is mind boggling.

Today DJP’s Pétalos still represents many people’s first point of contact to the red wines from this part of Spain, and one could not ask for a better ambassador than this wine.

As we head into the deeper parts of Autumn and then winter, putting this in your drinking arsenal should be a serious consideration, if not a must.  It is dependably delicious and versatile. Particularly at these unbeatable prices 35% off by the dozen. (available whilst stocks last!)