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Descendientes de J. Palacios - "La Faraona"

Tasting notes

95 Points - The Wine Advocate

"Ricardo was kind enough to uncork the 2011 La Faraona, their more exclusive wine, of which they only produce 600-900 bottles per vintage depending on the yields and conditions of the year. He opened and decanted the wine a good six hours before we tasted it, as he thinks they really need air. The wine is precise, with notes common to the others (blueberries, acid strawberry, smoky peat), but has some wild herbs, blood orange, more restrained on the exotic and exuberant, and a palate of great precision, balance and harmony. The wine is really different, and has a strong, capricious personality. Drink 2016-2025. Descendientes de Jose Palacios is the name of the Palacios family winery from Rioja in Bierzo. Ricardo Perez Palacios is on site, while his uncle Alvaro Palacios spends his time between Priorat and La Rioja. Well, that’s when he’s not in Russia, Singapore, or the US selling and showing the wines from the three wineries. They produced their first wine in 1999 using the Castro Ventosa facilities thanks to Raul Perez until they had their small winery in Villafranca del Bierzo. They have wildly overgrown their capacity there so they have decided to commission a new winery up in the Corullon mountains, where their vineyards are located, integrated into a slope of the Moncerbal zone that will be executed by star architect Rafael Moneo. Ricardo expects to be able to produce the 2015 vintage in the new winery, and he’s very much looking forward to it, as they have great difficulties working right now. They own close to 40 hectares of vineyards and employ 22 people, the majority working in the vineyards. They follow biodynamics, out of pure conviction; I was visiting them with a group of Portuguese wine producers a decade ago, when biodynamie was very trendy. We spent the whole day with Ricardo, and he did not even mention the word. He now lives it full-time, and has moved to a biodynamic farm in Corullon where they have their animals and offer courses on agriculture, cheese making and so on. As for the wines, they are different from the rest of the Bierzo; they have to be, because their very old vineyards are located in the village of Corullon, high up in the mountains, some of them at 1,200 meters altitude on slate slopes where they yield minuscule quantities of grapes. They also carry out very detailed work, both in the vineyards and in the winery, and the result shows. The wines have the purity and clean rusticity of the Cornas from Clape, and if you push me, I’d also say they also have a similar texture. 2010 and 2011 are very different in character. The 2011s jump out of the glass, but you really need to coax the 2010s out. I believe 2010 will develop superbly, but it will be a vintage similar to 2001 that will take a long time to really show its best. The 2010s are probably going through a difficult phase at the moment, as they have started to close down, and will need some years in bottle. 2011 has more instant appeal, while 2010 is a more intellectual year. 2010 is a great vintage, with elegance, acidity, minerality and power, a little reminiscent of 2001 in this winery, when the wines have aged very well. Ricardo is really excited about the latest vintages, and he tells me that his all-time favorite vintages are 2010, 2011 and 2012, together with 2001. What I tasted is a superb collection of wines." - Luis Gutiérrez

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