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WINE OF THE WEEK: Descendientes de J Palacios Pétalos Bierzo 2016, Bierzo, Spain

£15.99/£17.99, Majestic; £18.50, Berry Bros & Rudd, WoodWinters

Pétalos Bierzo

Álvaro Palacios of Priorat and Rioja fame and his nephew Ricardo Pérez are the dynamos behind this Bierzo, but more than that they’re the people who spearheaded the 21st century renaissance of this northwest region and its Mencía grape (white Bierzo – not much more common than hens’ teeth – is also well worth tracking down). The key to the red wines is the old vineyards – a patchwork of steeply inclined, schist/slate slopes – and old Mencía vines, a variety that was once thought to be related to, or even to be, Cabernet Franc. With some styles you can see why: lighter Mencías can share with Cab Franc what I can only describe as a ‘sweet green freshness’. The 2016 Pétalos has a mineral-graphite and delicately herbal freshness but is a weightier wine, reflecting the concentration of 60-year-old vines. The concentration comes through in the cherry and black fruit depth, smoky, peppery spice and smooth, dry tannins. There’s a lot going on here and it gives a great deal of pleasure now, but you could drink it any time over the next four or five years (stored in good conditions) with, for example, earthy lentil or black bean dishes, barbecued and casseroled meats, magret, roast duck, kidneys, liver or hard cheeses. 14%

Descendientes de J Palacios Pétalos Bierzo 2016, Bierzo, Spain

£15.99 in any 6-bottle mix, £17.99 by the bottle, Majestic; £18.50, Berry Bros & Rudd; £18.50, WoodWinters; £18.49, AG Wines

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