Bierzo reds: panel tasting results

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In one of the most comprehensive Bierzo tastings held outside of Spain, our three Masters of Wine were enthused by the quality of reds made by the 'seductive' Mencia grape. See the top 16 Bierzo reds here...
Alvaro Palacios & Ricardo P. Palacios Villa de Corullón 2011
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Descendientes de J Palacios, Villa de Corullón 2010
Decanter average score:
18.75pts/20 (95+/100pts)
Individual judge’s scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 19 Sarah Jane Evans MW 18.5 Mike Ritchie MW 18.5
What a pedigree: made by one of the stars of Priorat, Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Pérez Palacios. (José Palacios, after whom the winery is named, was Alvaro’s father. He died as they were starting the project.) They hunted down small plots of old-vine Mencía, convinced they would make exceptional wine. So it has proved. The enthusiastic Ricardo farms biodynamically, using mules to plough. Corullón is named after the mountain village around which the Priorat-like slate vineyards cluster. The wine is fermented in open wooden vats, and aged 14 months in barrel.
Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW Restrained; needs time to open up and show the elegant fruit aromas over the smoky notes of the French oak. In the mouth it shows balance and complexity, with delicate fruit expression. Subtle, round and long.
Sarah Jane Evans MW Complex, elegant aromas of ripe red fruits with cedar and vanilla. More seductive, ripe red and black fruits on the palate – evenly balanced with acid underneath. Chalky tannin adds fine structure, with a long finish and impressive concentration. Plenty of life to come.
Mike Ritchie MW Very good indeed. Big, powerfully structured wine with layers of oak and ripe black fruit juiciness. Impressively structured on the palate with more to come – at present it is a little tight and closed.
Price £35.60 Berry Bros & Rudd, WoodWinters
Drink 2013–2020
Alc 14.5%

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