The wines of Descendientes de J Palacios, Bierzo, Spain
Stunning wines from a collaboration between Alvaro Palacios and Ricardo Perez

The Palacios family are making some of Spain's most exciting wines. In 1990 Alvaro Palacios started making wine in Priorat. Then in 1998 he began an exciting collaboration, Descendientes de J Palacios, with nephew Ricardo Perez (pictured above) in Corrullón, Bierzo.  [Alvaro's brother, Rafael Palacios, makes excellent wines in Valdeorras. And there's also the family property of Palacios Remondo in Rioja.]

Bierzo was a lesser known region when this project started, but which has wonderful hillside vineyards and a fantastic grape variety, Mencía, to work with (it’s the same as Portugal’s Jaen). Alvaro and Ricardo's vision was to make great wines from old vineyards in the region. They now make seven wines, including five single-vineyard wines from exceptional terroirs.  

Pétalos del Bierzo is the entry level, but it’s still a serious effort. Corullón comes from three old vine parcels aged 60–100 years, and is quite special. These have been joined since by the single vineyard wines Fontelas, Las Lamas, La Faraona, Moncerbal and San Martin.

These wines are simply brilliant, and to my mind are among the very best that Spain makes today.


Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2011 Bierzo, Spain
98% Mencia, the balance made up of 20 other varieties in the region, a blend of different villages. Fresh, floral black cherry nose is quite beautiful, with a meaty edge. Amazing palate is fresh and vivid, with intense notes of pure black cherries, meat and olives. 94/100

Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullón 2007 Bierzo, Spain
A single village wine, made up of Mencia plus bits and pieces. Dense vivid black fruits with some structure and grip. Lively, intense black fruits with meat and spice notes. So alluring. 94/100

Descendientes de J. Palacios Las Lamas 2007 Bierzo, Spain
From seven vineyards on the same hill, with some old vines. Lifted, floral and intense nose with black cherries, meat and spice. The palate is open, sweet and spicy, showing some savoury grip. Striking and quite distinctive, and quite mineral. 94/100

Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona 2007 Bierzo, Spain
This is a single vineyard, one of the highest in the village, with very little soil, mostly bedrock. There's a tectonic fault in the middle of the parcel, so the soils are unusual. Sweetly aromatic black fruits nose, brooding. The palate is striking: lively, fresh, mineral and ripe, with good acidity and an amazingly lively mouthfeel of chalk, spice and minerals. Such a long finish. 96/100

Older notes from 2009:

Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos 2007 Bierzo
Fresh, sappy, slightly reductive edge to the pure fruit on the nose. This is really focused and delicious. The palate is beautifully pure and fresh with vivid raspberry fruit and has a minerally core. A fantastic effort. 92/100 (£13.65 BBR)

Descendientes de J. Palacios Villa de Corullón 2005 Bierzo
Fresh, pure raspberry and cherry fruit on the nose with a bit of creaminess. The palate is beautifully dense with a pure fruit focus and some attractive tannic structure. Complex, fresh and pure, this is special. 94/100 (£34.25 BBR)

Descendientes de J. Palacios San Martin 2005 Bierzo
Pure, expressive, beautifully focused and elegant, with cherry and blackberry fruit to the fore. Really intense and utterly delicious, this shows a wonderful elegance and purity. 95/100 (£68.50 BBR)

Descendientes de J. Palacios La Lamas 2005 Bierzo
Sweetly fruited, concentrated and pure with amazing minerally complexity under the sweet yet precise fruit. This fantastic wine shows great purity of fruit and quite a bit of elegance, but it’s no wimp. 94/100 (£88.05 BBR)  

UK agent FMV

See also:

Visiting Rioja (series)

Wines tasted 06/13  
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