Alvaro Palacios

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

Items

Alvaro Palacios 2018 'Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes' Priorat DOCa Login AG 93 WA 94 In Stock
Alvaro Palacios 2017 Gratallops, Priorat DOCa Login WA 94 In Stock
Alvaro Palacios 2020 'Camins del Priorat' Priorat DOCa Login 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
Wine Advocate: The Álvaro Palacios 2020 Portfolio
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

  • Alvaro Palacios 2017 Gratallops, Priorat DOCa
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (8/30/2019)

    The red "vi de vila" (village wine) 2017 Gratallops is a blend of 80% Garnacha, 19% Cariñena and 1% white grapes that fermented crushed and destemmed in oak vats with indigenous yeasts and matured in oak bocoyes and foudres for 15 months. This is the wine that surprised me the most when they were poured and I first put my nose in the glass. It feels floral, aromatic, clean, open and expressive like no other Gratallops that I remember. It seems quite marked by the Garnacha, with notes of Mediterranean herbs, red berries and fennel. For Álvaro Palacios, the wines from Gratallops have to have ripeness, not be very dark in color, with brightness, red rather than black fruit, not heavy, with the textured sensation of the slate soils. However, not all wines show the character of the village, as some people are still using foreign varieties, sometimes picking overripe, extracting too much and using too much oak, which hides the character of the wines. The wines have to be transparent. This Gratallops could very much represent the character of the place. All of the 2017s have very low pH, which is quite remarkable for the extremely warm and dry year. This has to be among the best Gratallops to date.
  • Alvaro Palacios 2018 'Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes' Priorat DOCa
    Vinous
    Rating: 93 (3/15/2021)

    Shimmering violet. Expressive aromas of cherry, blueberry and pipe tobacco pick up floral and exotic spice nuances with aeration. Concentrated yet energetic in the mouth, offering red and blue fruit, floral pastille and candied licorice flavors sharpened by smoky mineral and spice flourishes. Fine-grained tannins give shape to a very long, spicy finish that leaves a sappy blue fruit note behind.
  • Alvaro Palacios 2018 'Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes' Priorat DOCa
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 94 (12/30/2020)

    It keeps the more rustic side of their wines but with the finesse of 2018. It's a wine marked by a high percentage of Cariñena, but it's velvety, fresh and harmonious but with the dustier tannins. This is the British farmer, rustic but elegant with his Land Rover, the Wellington boots, corduroy trousers and a Barbour jacket... but with a Priorat twang.