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Some wines from Descendientes de J. Palacios

Show all 11 wines

Appellations Descendientes de J. Palacios

Definition Descendientes de J. Palacios

One grape: Mencia. One terroir: El Bierzo. One winemaker: Ricardo Pérez Palacios. The result is outstanding wines that speak of their origin.

With Raul Perez, Ricardo realised the importance of his parcels' identity. They were the driving force behind the new regulations in the Bierzo appellation.

History Descendientes de J. Palacios

Ricardo Pérez Palacios is the nephew of Spain’s most famous oenologist Alvaro Palacios. They both are worthy members of an ancient Rioja Baja wine family.

Alvaro had already set a foot outside of his native Rioja at the end of the 80’s, when he settled in the Catalan Priorat. When he and Ricardo launched their new project in El Bierzo, 10 years later, he felt the same impression again: like a pioneer in a new land with a huge potential.

Uncle and nephew set on this new adventure together. They chose the most inaccessible, the highest and the least productive vineyard in the region – the kind that did not interest local winegrowers.

So in 1998, they were the owners of vines no one else wanted, near the mountain village of Corullón.

This ambitious project is almost Burgundian in its conception: all the wines are made out of one grape, Mencía. The entry level wine, made out of grapes purchased in the area, has a very nice fruit, while the top wine is made out of the estate’s grapes, in Corullón. And the Palacios also make “grand crus wines”, out of single vineyards on the highest slopes. They are amongst the very best wines of Spain, with strength and elegance in the same wine.

Ricardo has been one of the main supporters of biodynamics in Spain. And still is. In 1998, he was the first to dare apply its methods to his vineyard. Even today, he is still a source of inspiration for a whole generation of new winemakers.

Varieties

There is only one (red) grape on the estate: Mencía. This rather peculiar variety is to be found in Galicia and El Bierzo, mostly. Until recently, it was believed to be a clone of Cabernet Franc, but recent studies have shown this is not the case.

This grape has small bunches with small berries, but with a rough skin. It has a high quality potential, if the yield is kept low enough. Ripeness must be fine-tuned, also, because when Mencía gets too ripe, it loses its acidity. Provided these elements are under control, this grape is easy to vinify and it can age nicely.

Ricardo owns 30 hectares of old Mencía vines in Corullón, divided into 200 small blocks.

Terroir

This is the highest part of the DO Bierzo. The soils are mainly slate from the early Cambrian (540 million years ago). Rock layers pile more or less horizontally (quartz, silicate, sandstone, marble, sand and clay, etc…).

The altitude of the vineyards varies between 500 to 950 m above sea level. The climate is continental, with strong Atlantic influences.

The “grands crus” are as follows:

Moncerbal: slate and roughly transversal layers of quartz, clay, marble and gravel.

The good porosity of the soil allows the roots to go deep into the lower layers. This soil has a high content of silicate and quartz.

The vines are planted on a sheer slope, between 610 and 730 m above sea level.

Las Lamas: slate on clay. Heavy erosion is constantly renewing the shallow upper layer (maximum 45 cm). Very acid soils, often with iron. Sheer slopes at an altitude varying between 670 and 730 m.

La Faraona: horizontal slates layers intermingled with quartz, gravel and particles of clay. The upper layer is very shallow (30 cm).

The vineyard is located on the top of a high hill, which makes it one of the sheerest of Bierzo (between 800 and 860 m). This hill rests on a tectonic depression, hence the presence of minerals brought by ancient eruptions (cobalt, titanium, iron, manganese...).

Winemaking

Apart from the grapes bought for the Pétalos, all vines are organically grown and organically vinified.

Fermentation takes place in small wooden tanks, open on the upper side.

According to the type of wine, maceration and fermentation last between 36 and 61 days.

Pétalos ages for 10 months, Corullón and single vineyard wines between 16 and 17 months. French oak only.

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