Palacios 2005 "Pétalos" Bierzo ($18.00)
This is a very dark blackish-purple wine, almost opaque in the glass; ruby glints flash against a strong light. Black plums and spice on the nose, deep and rich. Flavors are consistent with the nose, concentrated black fruit shaped by sharp acidity and texture, soft tannins and perceptible warmth from 14% alcohol. US Importer: The Rare Wine Co., Vineburg, Calif. (Jan 14, 2007)

FOOD MATCH: In retrospect, this is a wine for red meats, grilled poultry or sharp cheeses. It wasn't a bad flavor match with my more offbeat choice, Roman straciatella (egg drop) soup with veal meatballs and spinach, turning the dish into a variation on "Italian Wedding Soup;" but the wine was just hearty enough to dominate the more delicate dish.

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