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.