Alvaro Palacios

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Country of Origin: Spain
Location: Gratallops, Priorat
People: Alvaro Palacios, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Biodynamic

Items

Alvaro Palacios 2016 'Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes' Priorat DOCa Login WA (92-94)
Alvaro Palacios 2015 Gratallops, Priorat DOCa Login DEC 92 WA 92 In Stock
Alvaro Palacios 2015 Priorat, Finca Dofi, DOCa Login DEC 95 WA 95 WS 92 Please inquire
Alvaro Palacios 2016 'Camins del Priorat' Priorat DOCa Login WA 90 In Stock

Alvaro Palacios is one of the stalwarts of the new wave of Spanish winemakers. One of nine children born to the owners of Rioja’s respected Palacios Remondo, Alvaro studied oenology in Bordeaux, while working under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Château Pétrus. He credits his tenure at Pétrus for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him “the importance of great wines.”

Alvaro could have returned to the security of his family’s domaine. But instead, he was drawn to the remote and seductive Priorat, 60 miles from Barcelona, which had been one of Spain’s important pre-Phylloxera wine regions. With its unique terroir of steep hills and terraces Alvaro believed that here he could make a wine that evoked both Pétrus and Grange.

He acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofí, in 1990. Then, in 1993, he located what is now regarded as the crown jewel property in Priorat, a precipitous, northeast-facing Garnacha vineyard on well-drained schist that had been planted between 1900 and 1940. Alvaro named it for a small chapel, or hermitage (L'Ermita), that sits atop the hill. In 1995, the flow of critical praise for Alvaro’s L’Ermita began, and it hasn’t stopped. But while L’Ermita has received most of the attention, Alvaro produces several other wines compelling in their own rights.

Media Links
Food & Wine: Reimagining Rioja with Spain's Most Famous Winemaker
Masters of Wine: Alvaro Palacios wines Winemakers' Winemaker Award 2016
Wine Spectator: Featured Winemaker, Alvaro Palacios
Decanter.com: Alvaro Palacios, Spanish Wanderer

Received Institute of Masters of Wine Winemakers’ Winemaker Award in 2016:
“This Award has the unique distinction of being voted for by winemakers. All of them as Masters of Wine are committed to excellence, and with this Award they recognise in Àlvaro Palacios’ work as a winemaker his own continued commitment to excellence.”

Named Decanter Man of the Year in 2015:
“Palacios embodies, with his wines, the spirit of the new Spain, and has inspired a new generation of winemakers.”

Wine Spectator 10/2016:
“During the past 30 years, he has made brilliant wines from Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo, always seeking out old vines and focusing on distinctive terroir.”

Jon Bonné:
“It’s worth remembering that Palacios took a big gamble on untested places and grapes - namely Bierzo and Mencia - at a time when Spain was chasing more obvious paths to revival. That decision helped to revive Spain’s belief in its indigenous wine culture.”

Decanter 2/2010:
“With bodegas in Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo, Palacios is one of the defining personalities in Spanish wine today. In just 20 years, he has established a formidable reputation as a dynamic pioneer, generating global praise for his wines – in particular, those from the forgotten regions of Spain he has been so active in promoting.”

Reviews

  • A. Palacios 2015 Priorat, Finca Dofi, DOCa
    Decanter
    Rating: 95 (3/24/2016)

    Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofí 2015 is grown on brown slate. Deep purple with pink rim. Impressively powerful, with a burst of black fruits, fresh, well-balanced, with a refined texture. A rasp of tannin gives structure, and a burst of juice explodes on the finish. An edge of liquorice and wild herbs to the finish. Very long, very fresh.
  • A. Palacios 2015 Gratallops, Priorat DOCa
    Decanter
    Rating: 92 (3/24/2016)

    Alvaro Palacios Gratallops Vi de Villa 2015 is a blend of 10 different sites. Very aromatic, with raspberries and notes of red liquorice. The palate is bursting with ripe berries, restrained by spice and grip of tannin. Very long finish. Impressively delicate and fresh.
  • A. Palacios 2016 'Camins del Priorat' Priorat DOCa
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 90 (4/27/2018)

    The entry-level red blend 2016 Camins del Priorat is the first wine to be bottled—only a few months after the harvest—and is sold early, as market demand causes it to sell out pretty quickly. It's a blend of 35% Garnacha, 25% Cariñena, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Merlot aged for a few months in oak barriques and casks. It's a very pleasant and accessible wine from the portfolio, but it's less Priorat than any of the other wines, with some international character, very nicely crafted. We are talking about one of the biggest production wines from the whole of Priorat! 260,000 bottles produced.
  • A. Palacios 2015 Priorat, Finca Dofi, DOCa
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 95 (4/27/2018)

    The 2015 Finca Dofí is mostly Garnacha with a 4% pinch of Cariñena and some white grapes from the vineyard that names it. Although there are some differences, mainly in the fringes and extremes, most of the soils from Priorat are very similar, with decomposed slate called "llicorella." Most of Palacios's wines are produced in a very similar way, with natural fermentation of destemmed and crushed grapes in oak vats and élevage in oak casks—in this case, larger bocoys and foudres—for 16 months. This wine has gained in drinkability since 2010-2011, and this lighter vintage feels even more approachable, with very clean flavors and unnoticeable tannins. It finishes very tasty and with subtle earthiness.
  • A. Palacios 2015 Gratallops, Priorat DOCa
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (4/27/2018)

    The village red ("vi de vila" in Catalan) 2015 Gratallops is sourced from their own vineyards in the village, and the varietal components came to 85% Garnacha, 13% Cariñena and 2% white grapes: Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo and PX. It fermented in oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in barriques for 15 months. Tasted next to the Terrasses from the same year, it doesn't have the finesse; it's not a powerful vintage and might be a little diluted, but it's full of flavor.
  • A. Palacios 2016 'Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes' Priorat DOCa
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: (92-94) (4/27/2018)

    The still unbottled sample of the Garnacha and Cariñena blend 2016 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes has vibrant acidity in a warm year when ripening stopped as the vines blocked and stopped producing sugar and maintained the acidity. The grapes were small because the year had also been very dry. It's juicy and with good ripeness and some dusty tannins, reminiscent of the dusty roads among the vineyards of Priorat along with that decomposed slate.
  • A. Palacios 2015 Priorat, Finca Dofi, DOCa
    The Wine Spectator
    Rating: 92 (5/31/2018)

    Round and generous, this toasty red offers flavors of cherry, plum and baking spices, showing depth. Light, firm tannins and fresh acidity keep this focused. A spicy, gentle wine, with deceptive length. Drink now through 2025.