The barrel sample of the 2021 Pétalos was lower in alcohol than ever (13.5%), and the wine felt a bit reductive and needed time in the glass to open up. That's not a bad sign in my book, and the wine was lighter, a little narrower (a bit the style of the year), with finesse and freshness (despite not having high acidity, but it's the balance that makes it fresher), elegant and juicy, with very fine, chalky tannins. 2021 saw a good crop and, except for Las Lamas and La Faraona, volumes are similar, even a little more in Pétalos, because the early-harvested vineyards delivered very healthy grapes and there was no need to discard or sort the grapes, which was not the case in the vineyards that were harvested late. There will be some 280,000 bottles, and the 2021s might also have a shorter élevage.
A benchmark of Bierzo Mencia, Petalos is reliably delicious year in, year out. Bright ruby purple in the glass, it bursts with violets, hedgerow, struck flint and a little blueberry on the nose. Highly aromatic, it is like a bouquet of flowers. Supple yet crunchy in fruit, there is a zest and verve to the palate, lively yet redolent in its floral character. Layers of red and blue fruits come in waves, together with a whiff of white pepper. Sappy, lightly savoury and moreish on the finish, it offers superb value for money. Drink now, or over the coming decade.