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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
7 Sep 2012

From €10.63, $15.93, £12.79, CA$20.55, 149 Swedish krone, 135 Danish krone, 23 Swiss francs, 225 Norwegian krone, Aus $41.39, 1,710 roubles

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Look at all those international prices! This is a wine that must be made in considerable quantity; there's hardly a country it's not available in. But it is also completely stunning quality. I have loved the Mencía grape of northwest Spain ever since I first tasted it and 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. Hence the heartening quantity available of this, the principal product of Descendientes de J Palacios.

Majestic are listing it, as '2009/10', at £15.99 (Berrys, whose image this is top left, have it at £16.95) but if you buy two bottles the price comes down to a bargain £12.79. The 2009 is good but I think the 2010 is even better, a little racier. Pétalos 2010 Bierzo is made from 60-year-old vines apparently and spends 10 months in used French oak. I loved its super supple, juicy fruit with just a hint of graphite (it's easy to see why the locals initially thought this grape variety might be Cabernet Franc; DNA analysis has shown it is identical to the Jaen of northern Portugal, incidentally). This very complete wine with a bone-dry finish hides its 14% alcohol extremely well. I know the word fluid may seem a bit tautologous as applied to wine but it does seem a particularly apt description of this lovely wine, which I suggest could be drunk any time over the next four years.

Read what our Spanish specialist Luis Gutierrez has to say about Spain's Atlantic-influenced reds and delve even deeper into the region and style.


I know this is a popular wine because when on Twitter I used this picture of a bottle of it to illustrate the size of our new book Wine Grapes and Nick's new book The Art of the Restaurateur (more about this tomorrow), many people recognised the bottle fondly.

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