The why, the what and the how of...
“One of Spain’s most important and influential producers, Álvaro Palacios is making stunning wines in Priorat… A remarkable range of wines from this spectacular Catalan wine region.” – Jamie Goode. Located 60 miles from Barcelona, Spain’s Priorat had been one of Spain’s important pre-Phylloxera wine regions and with its unique terroir of steep hills and terraces, it was Álvaro Palacios who believed he was capable of making wine from here that would rival the very best in Europe.
Álvaro Palacios is one of nine children born to the owners of the Rioja estate, Palacios Remondo. He studied and received his qualifications in oenology in Bordeaux, while working under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Pétrus. Palacios could have just joined the ranks at the family’s domaine in Rioja, but instead, in the 1980s, he decided to seek out the potential he believed resided in the largely abandoned, ancient vineyards of Priorat.
Three years after the acquisition of his first vineyard, Finca Dofí in 1990, he located a northeast-facing Garnacha vineyard planted on well-drained schist that had been planted between 1900 and 1940. Palacios named it L’Ermita after a small chapel, or “hermitage”, that sits atop the hill. This wine is widely considered—along with Peter Sisseck’s Dominio de Pingus—to be the most important Spanish wine of the modern era.
Priorat’s slate-rich soils are what give the wines that minerality and freshness and its steep slopes are definitely one of this region’s most striking characteristics.
The Vi de Vila on the bottle labels means the wine is from one of Priorat’s 12 villages (La Morera de Montsant; Scala Dei; Poboleda; La Vilella Baixa; La Vilella Alta; Torroja del Priorat; Gratallops; Porrera; El Lloar; Solanes del Molar; Bellmunt del Priorat and Masos de Falset). The “Gratallops” is a blend of Garnacha, Carinyena (Carignan) and Cabernet Sauvignon and the “Finca Dofí”, from Alvaro’s original single vineyard, is 100% Garnacha. These wines combine power and richness with great structure and finesse.