Malcolm Jolley finds comfort in a bottle of Spanish wine…

I heard on the radio this morning that the reason we’re all so tired all the time these days is that we are constantly and consistently stressed out. We are living in a new coronavirus land, with new customs to learn and old ones left behind to mourn. I guess we’re tired from stressing about what’s going to happen next and sad from missing real time with our friends and family. It all sucks. But there are a few consolations to cling to, like the bottle of wine I opened last with dinner, the 2017 Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos Bierzo DO, $24.95, LCBO# 446484

The Palacios family are Spanish wine royalty with roots in Rioja. The Descendientes label is a collaboration between the rock star winemaker Alvaro Palacios, best known for his luxury wines from Priorat, and his nephew Ricardo Perez. Bierzo, with its red wines made from the indigenous Mencia grape, is in the northwest of Spain and in enjoying a growing reputation for the quality of its wines in no small part due to the efforts of the Palacios winery.

I have had the pleasure of meeting and tasting with Alvaro Palacios a few times in Toronto and once in Spain at press events. There is something particularly comforting about tasting a wine made by someone you know, however fleetingly. That’s a pleasure that can’t be transferred, but I think the wine stands up on its own without sentiment. The Petalos is the winery’s entry level wine, but it is made biodynamically from 60 year old vines, and is both intense, vibrant and structured. It’s also, as the name ‘petals’ suggests, pretty and elegant. I got blueberries, plums, blackberry, violets from the 2017. It’s a wine for the table, with good acidity (the 2017 was made in a hot year and so is made with 10% white grapes), but is rich and pleasurable without being hedonistic. At $25 it’s not cheap, but  since there will be fewer wine glasses on many of our Passover or Easter tables this weekend it may be just the right small luxury we need to get us through to the other side.

Click here to find it at the LCBO.