The French are the creators of the idea of the château, castle, or palace wines. Wines associated with a winery for generations, producing unique bottles every year. This is the idea that Palacio de Canedo has maintained since its origin: to respect nature without chemical products or fertilizers so that each harvest is different, marks the character of the climatic year, and endures once uncorked.
In the vineyards surrounding the Palace and in others located nearby but at a higher altitude to make better use of the daytime and to avoid excess humidity, we cultivate the varieties that have put the El Bierzo wines on the map: red Mencía and white Godello.
These varieties arrived with the French in their pilgrimage to Compostela, and then in El Bierzo they evolved. First in the vineyards of the monks and later of the nobles, right up to today.
White wine, better if it’s a Godello
Canedo’s lands, in terms of quality, composition, orientation, and slope, are among the best in El Bierzo for the production of high-end wines. From the beginning the Palace has been committed to the Godello white, a variety that in the eighties of the last century was disappearing from the region due to competition with other much more productive and well-known varieties.
José Luis Prada and other winegrowers invested in tradition. And he decided to replant holes as they came up in the vineyards with Godello instead of resorting to international varieties.
The result is prodigious white wines, fresh and very aromatic, which keep well up to two or three years. They are so unique that Godello is already located among the fine white varieties of Spain, even though it is a minority variety that can only be found near the River Sil in El Bierzo and Ourense.
Picantal, vino de pago
Palacio de Canedo opted for aging Mencía in wine barrels. ‘It won’t work’, they told the winemaker when he reserved the coolest part of the building for his barrels. Today, his aged wines or the already legendary Picantal, are benchmark wines in the region.
It is a vino de pago that is made exclusively with the grapes from a plot with a steep slope and up to the maximum arable height. Beyond it, only pines live. It produces very little fruit, old vines that have difficulty producing a few clusters, but from which prodigious wines are born.
Carbonic maceration, young Mencía in all its glory
Among El Bierzo’s young red wines, one very singular wine stands out, the Maceración red by Palacio de Canedo. It is a young wine made from Mencía, following the oldest rural style of carbonic maceration. The bunches are put in the barrel whole and left to macerate for a few days, starting a grape by grape fermentation before going on to the hoppers and continuing with production.
This system produces extremely young wines that can be tasted early in November, as they used to be, around some roasted chestnuts. An explosive and aromatic wine, and the one that most markedly bears the year’s stamp. Wines that cut to the chase, showing all their cards, ‘without playing any games or telling any tall tales’, as Prada himself would say.