If I Could Buy Only One – March 16th Vintages Release

We asked our writers, “If you could buy only one wine from this release, which one would it be and why?”

Ramón Bilbao Reserva 2016, Rioja, Spain
$22.95, Christopher Stewart Wine & Spirits
Michael Godel – My “Only One” pick this week comes from a denomination on the move. That would be Rioja where changes are afoot and plans are as much about the future as they are connected to the past. Rioja’s governing (Consejo) body and regulatory council has changed the name of the ‘Vino de Municipio’ classification to ‘Vino de Pueblo’ that will now allow producers to share information about vineyards on the bottle. A terrific example of new meets old Rioja is the Ramón Bilbao Reserva 2016 made by winemaker Rodolfo Bastida, a juicy and fresh example that also happens to be vegan and sustainable. Defined as Ultra classic Rioja aromatics befitting its Reserva appellation in how two-toned wood forms and shapes the fruit to act both highlighted and then sombre, but in the end perfume is everything. Just ideally mid-weight, teasingly oxidative and also bursting with light for the kind of tempranillo to effect good energy and potential remains high, especially considering the price. What a steal for the complexity on hand because probabilities outshine and will surely outrun deficiencies for a 2016 Rioja that may just last twenty years from vintage. Who knows, maybe future labels of Ramón Bilbao will list place names like Bastida’s village of Logroño, or vineyards such as Villalba and Tudellila. 

John Szabo – At the risk of being repetitive, I’m pulling out a serial star on my best buys list again for my only one this week, the 2021 Pétalos from Descendientes De J. Palacios, DO Bierzo, Spain. Even with the price creeping up, I can still happily recommend this old vine mencía from Bierzo, gnarly old things farmed in tiny plots and rendered into wine using a sensible, sensitive winemaking approach, quietly confident, true to type. It’s also suprisingly ageworthy  – a recently tasted 2016 was absolutely singing, for example – so the landing strip of enjoyment will be long, from now into the early ‘30s, if you happen to forget a few bottles in the cellar.
Megha Jandhyala One of my favourite wines in the latest Vintages release is the 2021 Descendientes De J. Palacios Pétalos. This is a simply delightful mencía, the product of biodynamically farmed, beautifully rugged and twisted old vines growing in and around the village of Corrullón in Bierzo. I love how supple, fresh, and flavourful it is, brimming with vivid flavours of vibrant dark fruit and cracked black pepper. Descendientes de J. Palacios, a collaboration between famed Spanish winemaker Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Perez, focuses on making old vine mencía from the region. The Pétalos, their entry-level wine is an eloquent expression of the variety, and a great introduction to this exciting project! 

Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Megha’s Picks
Michael’s Mix
Szabo’s Smart Buys

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