Now after two bottles on two different occasions, I’m prepared to pronounce this premier vintage of Paixar the best Bierzo that has passed my lips.
The 2001 Paixar is 100% Mencia from 50-80 year old vines grown on slopes between 750 and 900 meters above sea level. (Most vines in Bierzo are between 500 and 600 meters.) It was aged for 16 months in all French oak.
This wine needs a fair amount of airing out. In fact, I left one glass out overnight for more than 12 hours and, not only did it show no signs of deteriorating, it was just as good as my primary tasting during the first 3 hours after opening the bottle. The color in the glass is deep blackish purple with a thin garnet edge. The nose shows strong fruit -- blackberries, cherries -- with more subtle notes of spice, licorice, oak, mint and dark chocolate. In the mouth the wine is smooth and richly layered, with a taste profile similar to the nose. The finish is huge. Overall, this seems far more deep and elegant than most Mencias, which generally strike me as much brighter and less layered in comparison.
I look forward to comparing this to Palacios 2001 single-vinyard wines from Bierzo.