Friday, March 02, 2007

2005 Petalos

My first few years of wine buying, collecting, tasting and drinking have been focused on breadth - tasting as many different types of grapes, regions, wineries, and vintages as possible. While I am no stranger to Spain, I have never had a red wine from the region of Bierzo, a wine made from the Mencía grape. How cool is that? I was giddy with anticipation.

For some background, the Spanish government's Wines from Spain website says that Bierzo only acheived its D.O. status in 1985, and in 1988 began making wines exclusively from local grapes. The Mencía grape was brought into the region in the Middle Ages by religious pilgrims, and appears to be related to Cabernet Franc. You can also see the U.S. importer's site for some more information.

The 2005 Pétalos comes from the winery Descendientes de J. Palacios - some of you may recognize the name Palacios of Priorat fame (there is a relationship). A deep, tooth-staining, beautiful purple hue, this wine is obviously in its youth. On the nose this wine was gamey and meaty up front, but a plethora of aromas were liberated as the wine took in the oxygen - flowers, raspberries, earth, truffles, leather and spice, some mint. Gorgeous. On the palate it was medium- to full-bodied, with rich velvety tannins and nice acidity, ripe chocolatey fruit, and good balance. Terribly interesting, like a good Madiran or Pinotage, it seemed both modern and rustic at the same time. I was fascinated by this wine, and I would appreciate any comments on other Bierzo wines others have tasted. I think it will improve, but hard to say - I will wait a year or two before consuming my other bottle.

Score: 16/20
Cost: C$24
Alcohol: 14%
Mencía (grape)


Brooklynguy said...

Hey Joe,

I had the 2004 version of this wine, and here were my notes: unusual and interesting, my first taste of mencia grape. deep opaque purple color, smells like the woods, ripe plums, and pine tar. well balanced, with medium body and integrated tannins, but the fruit on the palate was a bit fleeting, not focused. I was really into the idea of a cabernet franc ancestor, and I should go back to Bierzo and try some more wines. Not so easy to find at my local haunts though...

Joe said...

Hi Brooklynguy. Those scents are familiar. I would agree on the focus - that was NOT a French (or even a Californian cab fanc). Speaking of which, I have a bunch of Loire reds now (at your 'instigation') that I am now afraid to blog for fear of offending you. ;)
I think I will taste my other bottle blind vs. a Californian and a French someday...

Brooklynguy said...

Oh c'mon! Don't hold back! I'm glad you got some to try, and we're all curious to read about your reactions. I wasn't really offended - it was a joke.

Joe said...

:) Just being careful - I was teasing Dr. Vino the other day and I don't want to piss off too many bloggers! I will definitely do a blind Petalos/Loire/California someday - just have to find the right evening.