Descendientes de J. Palacios - La Faraona 2018


The idea of making great wine from old-vine Mencía never left Álvaro Palacios. 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 an internship at Moueix, the owner of Châteaux Petrus and Trotanoy. Meanwhile, he frequently visited Álvaro, coming 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.

Ricardo moved to Bierzo to guide this pioneering project. From the beginning, he embraced biodynamic viticulture as a means to craft the transparent wines of his dreams.

La Faraona is Corullón's most exceptional wine and is grown on the "Gran Vinya Classificada" (in the Burgundian sense of a Grand Cru) El Ferro on 0.55 hectares at more than 800 meters above sea level. The very steep plot on slate soil is rich in minerals. This is the birth place of a magical wine, complex, full of energy and unforgettable. Impressive are its extremely silky, fresh and firm texture with ultra-fine tannins and its enormous aromatic length – a cult wine that provides a rarely surpassed wine experience. When young, it is recommended to decant it before serving.

“I’ve said this a number of times before, but sometimes you have to repeat yourself: Descendientes de J. Palacios is the most coherent, moving, thrilling and consistent wine project in Spain. Period.” - Luis Gutiérrez, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

100 points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The often-mysterious and ever-changing 2018 La Faraona comes from the vineyard called El Ferro, a very special plot ("I personally prune each single vine from La Faraona," Ricardo once told me. "She's mine!") of only 0.55 hectares that probably has 8% white grapes of the Godello and Jerez varieties. The vines are 72 years old on a very steep southeast-facing slope at 800 to 860 meters in altitude, and there is a tectonic fault that crosses the land and brings an unusual combination of elements and very shallow soils with the mother rock barely 30 centimeters down. The partly destemmed grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts in an oak vat, and the wine matured in foudre and barrique for 12 months. The perfume coming out of the glass was simply mind-boggling, a subtle and complex combination of flowers, herbs and spices that had taken me to different places (often the Loire) in the past, but this time it took me to the green and humid slopes of the Bierzo, the wet soils and the Atlantic smell of the ferns and moss. This is the most Atlantic of the 2018s. It has freshness and lightness but also lots of energy and light. It has great purity, a very strong sense of place, and it encapsulates the humid slopes of Corullón like no other. This is nothing short of amazing. Ricardo told me this has been the only vintage of La Faraona where the wine was harmonious all the way, starting from the grapes, which gives me an idea of a wine that is going to show and drink nicely throughout its life. It's different from the 2014, which was from a cooler year, but this is every bit as good. 1,666 bottles, 54 magnums, 10 double magnums and six jeroboams were filled the 22nd of January 2020. They've been regrafting a good percentage of the white vines to red for eight years. Drink 2020-2035."


Producer: Descendientes de J. Palacios

Country: Spain

Region: Castilla y León


Appellation: Bierzo

Vintage: 2018

Size: 750ml