Alvaro Palacios

Country: Priorat - Spain

Region: Priorat


DECANTER MAN OF THE YEAR 2015

Alvaro Palacios is one of Spain's most prestigious and influential wine makers. Alvaro and his nine siblings were born into a wine making family, their father being the owner of Bodega Palacios Remondo. However, Alvaro honorably chose to carve out his own wine making destiny, and after studying at the University of Bordeaux he worked at Petrus in Pomerol for two years. He then went onto purchase his own vineyard in the Priorat region of Spain. Here, Alvaro has played a key role in the development of the Consejo Regulador, advocating the preservation of tradition, as well as devising a labeling system to distinguish terroir. Alvaro has also acquired vineyards in the lesser-known hillside region of Bierzo. Alvaro Palacios wines are some of the most sought after and expensive wines in Spain, and their worthiness is evident in the barrage of ridiculously high scores that they have received from the world's most respected wine critics.

A pioneer of this region, Álvaro Palacios arrived in Gratallops in 1989, invited by a group of local producers and intent on extracting the very best from its unique schist and slate soils.

The first wine made was the 1989 Finca Dofi and L’Ermita, one of Spain’s finest wines, followed in 1993. Cabernet and Syrah vines are planted in the richer soils of the valleys whilst old Garnacha and Samsó (Carignan) are rooted in the free draining slate soils on the hillsides. These old vines receive more than 3,000 hours of sun a year, less than 380 mm annual rainfall, are cooled by an inland wind and the influence of the nearby sea. The sobriety of the Mediterranean climate leaves a decisive mark on the character of its wines. The mountainous topography of the area has ensured cultivation methods have remained largely unchanged and horses are still employed in the steep vineyards. The result is wines with a rounded structure and fresh mineral quality. The flagship wine, L’Ermita, comes from a small 1.6 ha vineyard with a north-east exposure and is farmed organically. The vines here are very old, some reaching up to 100 years. 

Alvaro Palacios Collection


Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes Price € 31.50

lesterrases

Each glass of Les Terrases is a journey on the palate in the steep landscape of the Priorat, as it consists of grapes from no less than nine municipalities of the DO: Gratallops: La Vilella Baixa, Bellmunt, El Lloar, El Molar, Porrera , Scala Dei, Torroja and Poboleda. It is a wine with a perfect balance and excellent expressiveness in the nose. A faithful reflection of the most historic Priorat with a great value for money. Starting in 2011 the blend has changed to only indigenous varietals - Garnacha and Samso.

Sensory features: Brilliant ruby. A complex bouquet evokes raspberry and blackberry preserves, Indian spices, potpourri and smoky minerals. Deep, seamless and powerful, with lively fresh black raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavours, and a candied violet note that builds with air. The gently tannic finish shows excellent length and clarity.

Grape varieties: 65% Samso (Cariñena) & 35% Garnacha

Soil: Schist llicorella

Fermentation and aging: fermented in a combination of oak and cement vats with natural yeasts and matured in barrique for 12 months, in 20% new oak.

Alcohol content: 14.5%

Bottle size: 750ml

 

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Gratallops Vi De Vila Price € 51.70

gratallops priorat doc 2010 alvaro palacios

Gratallops is a new subappelation in the Priorat region, similar to a village level. Older vines (40 years average) lend complexity to this wine, which also exhibits lovely minerality and a spicy juiciness on the palate.

Alvaro has been instrumental in introducing the Burgundian ideas of Villages and Cru to Priorat. In 2006, he began to elaborate separately a collection of old vineyards from throughout the township of Gratallops to extend and commercialize this idea. 

Sensory featuresBright violet color. Allspice, anise and woodsmoke aromas complement vibrant red fruits and floral pastille. Juicy, tightly focused raspberry and bitter cherry flavors expand and sweeten with air, as hints of cola and spicecake develop in the glass. The very long finish shows outstanding focus, supple tannins and a lingering floral quality.

Technical notes

Grape varieties: 85% Garnacha & 15 Cariñena sourced from a number of named plots such as Ermites, La Baixada, Mas d'en Pallarès, Coll del Corral, Obagues, Manyetes, Sorts, Les Planes, Mas d'en Piqué and Carrerada.

The grapes were destemmed, lightly pressed and fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. The wine went through malolactic fermentaion and 16 months aging in oak barrels. 

Alcohol content: 14.5%

Bottle size: 750ml

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Finca Dofi Price € 62.50

dofi

Alvaro Palacios is one of the founding fathers of modern era Priorat, and his Finca Dofi is based upon primarily Garnacha and roughly 5% Cariñena. Dofi is an impressive vineyard, with stakes supporting the vines, organic cultivation and a marked slope marking this icocnic Gratallops village site.

Sensory features: Opaque ruby. Sexy, high-pitched aromas of red fruit liqueur, potpourri and pipe tobacco are accented by an building spiciness. Juicy and precise on the palate, offering sweet, deeply concentrated raspberry and floral pastille flavours that show outstanding vivacity and thrust. Closes with emphatic floral and red berry character and harmonious tannins that add gentle grip.

Technical Notes

Produced in a very similar way, with natural fermentation of destemmed and crushed grapes in oak vats and levage in oak casksin this case, larger bocoys and foudres for 16 months.

Grape variety: 95% Garnacha and 5% Cariñena

Alcohol content: 14.5%

Bottle size: 750ml

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Camins del Priorat € 19.50

camins

Camins del Priorat is a red wine from Priorat, prepared by Alvaro Palacios. This winery is located in the town of Gratallops, in the centre of the Priorat (Tarragona).

Sensory featuresThe wine has a rich ruby colour and a bright bouquet with hints of cherry, blackberry and pomegranate, light in notes of vanilla, spices & dried herbs. Juicy, with a good level of acidity on the palate & a refreshing, harmonious finish.

Technical Notes

Grape varietiesCarignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. 

Vineyards: The grapes come from vineyards planted at an altitude of between 300 and 600m, on terraces and steep slopes of slate soils.

Viticulture: The grapes ripen under a benevolent Mediterranean climate, with over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually and less than 380 mm annual rainfall. The vineyards are close to the sea, which gives them the freshness of summer.

Vinification: Regarding the development of Camins del Priorat, the wort undergoes a temperature controlled fermentation in cement vats, stainless steel tanks and wooden vats. Subsequently malolactic fermentation also occurs. Finally, prior to marketing, this young wine from Priorat is aged in new French oak barrels and wooden vats for 8 months.

Best served: Roasted red meats, Mushrooms, Roasts, Stew, Mature cheese, Grilled red meats and Pâté

Alcohol content: 14%

Bottle size: 750ml

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