Descendientes de J. Palacios

Bierzo, Spain
At a Glance
  • Winemaker, Ricardo Perez, is Spain's foremost expert on Biodynamics.  He translated Steiner into Spanish and has taught many courses to aspiring winemakers on biodynamics.
  • The winery is a small part of the "complete" farm.  They grow many other products, raise animals and make many of the bio preps themselves.
  • The entry level wine Petalos is perhaps the most difficult wine of theirs to make.  It is produced from over 300 plots that are managed by a full time viticulural team.
  • The area of Bierzo they are focused on is a small area around the village of Corullon with near the highest elevation of the appellation and with the oldest most complex soils.
  • Beyond managing the entire biodynamic farm, Ricardo also hosts classes for the local residents on baking breads, making cheeses and other skills from the region that are slowly being lost with the younger generations.
  • Ricardo is currently working very hard on changes to the DO of Bierzo rules getting further designations approved, village designations allowed and many other things which will benefit the quality and communication to consumers.

Thanks to Rare Wine Co. for the following:

During the late 1980’s, Alvaro Palacios travelled his native Spain selling French barriques to winemakers. But his journeys had a second purpose: to find the best place to achieve his goal of making Spain’s greatest wine.

He ultimately decided, in 1990, on Priorat, where he would achieve worldwide fame with "L'Ermita" and "Finca Dofi." But there had been a close contender: Bierzo. It had all the ingredients that Alvaro wanted-incredibly steep hillside vineyards, distinctive terroirs and, most importantly, ancient vineyards of Mencía-a unique red grape believed brought by French pilgrims during the Middle Ages.

In Pursuit of the Dream

The idea of making great wine from old-vine Mencía never left Alvaro, and his experience in Priorat-particularly with L'Ermita-convinced him of Bierzo's enormous potential. Meanwhile, his nephew Ricardo Perez had finished enological studies in Bordeaux and was travelling across France-absorbing everything he could about great wines. He worked the harvest at Château Margaux, and did internships at other Bordelais firms like Moueix (Pétrus, Trotanoy, etc.). He also visited Alvaro frequently and came to share a belief in Bierzo's potential. In 1998, the two decided on a joint venture and set out in search of the region's finest old vineyards.

Assembling the Pieces

Alvaro and Ricardo found promising sites in a number of villages but shortly came to believe that the greatest potential lay in a little town on Bierzo's western border named Corullón. Old vineyards lined the precipitous hillsides there, and the local soils were extremely poor-composed mostly of schist-but with incredible diversity. The minute variations in soils and exposures across this zone immediately reminded the two of Burgundy's Côte d'Or, or Piedmont's Langhe hills. In Corullón, Alvaro and Ricardo believe they have found a unique combination of soils, old vines, and a distinctive variety that will yield their own grands crus. Beginning with 2001, the estate began to make their case with individual vineyard bottlings.

The winery is dedicated to Alvaro's father, and Ricardo's grandfather, who passed away in early 2000. The wines are a worthy tribute to the man who inspired them.

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