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New Wines from Alvaro Palacios: Spain's Grandmaster Flash!

New Wines from Alvaro Palacios
Over the past couple months and years I have been asked numerous times for a Priorat offer. Here we go....the best Priorat has to offer. Álvaro Palacios is perhaps the leading figure in the modern Spanish winemaking revolution.  Young, energetic and full of charismatic passion. Palacios admires Burgundy and other wine regions with a monastic past. A media-friendly maverick, he has become a true celebrity in the world of Spanish wine. He is currently in charge of a small wine kingdom which produces some of the best labels from Bierzo, Rioja and of course, Priorat. 

He is part and some say mostly responsible for a new Priorat model which utilized foreign varietals -- Cabernet and Syrah -- to act cohesively with Garnacha and Cariñena.  The wines are dark, powerful and concentrated and show a distinct minerality that bespeaks the slate soils in the region. With this base and considering that markets unreservedly accepted the steep prices from the very beginning, Palacios built his range of wines.......
The Wines:
L'Ermita - from a dramatically steep 2-hectare north-facing vineyard of 70 year old, head pruned vines.  The wine is mostly Garnacha with a touch of Carinyena (Carignan) and Garnacha Blanca.
Finca Dofí—from Alvaro’s original vineyard, Finca Dofí is all
Garnacha. Like L’Ermita, Dofí combines power and
richness with great breed and finesse. In most Priorat tastings that do not
include L’Ermita, Dofí is the clear winner.
Gratallops—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.  The wine is a blend of Garnacha, Carinyena (Carignan) and Cabernet.
Les Terrasses “Velles Vignes”—While originally conceived of as a value
wine, Les Terrasses “Velles Vignes” has slowly evolved into the essence of
what makes Priorat special. Drawing on 15+ years of study, Terrasses is
sourced from many of the region’s steepest and oldest vineyards—many of
them north-facing to avoid the intense afternoon sun. With the 2007 vintage,
Alvaro acknowledged Les Terrasses’ “graduation” by adding the
“Velles Vinyes” designation to the label.  This wine is a blend of Garnacha and Carinyena (Carignan).
The evolving seriousness of Terrasses eventually left room for a new wine,
Camins del Priorat. Alvaro had never wanted to be known solely for expensive
“trophy” wines, and with Camins, he found the opportunity to create
something special. Drawing on his wealth of vineyard sources, Alvaro is
aiming to produce a wine that is affordably priced, but which also stays true
to his vision of Priorat—powerful but elegant, approachable but restrained.  The wine is a blend of Garnacha, Carinyena (Carignan), Cabernet and Syrah.

Pétalos del Bierzo, is assembled from old hillside and hilltop vines across from Bierzo’s western edge. The wine is vinified for immediate appeal, but it retains the estate’s signature finesse and restraint
  • 10% off any 6
  • Wines available Next Week for Delivery


2017 Alvaro Palacios Gratallops Priorat 
Original Price: $66.99 
Sale Price: $59.99
95 Points JS: 
Very intense dark berries, such as blueberries and boysenberries with lots of wet earth and fresh flowers. Full-bodied, dense and chewy with lots of berries, ripe yet firm tannins and a flavorful finish. Needs three to four years to soften, but excellent. Try after 2023

2017 Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi Priorat 
Original Price: $99.99 
Sale Price: $91.99
95 Points WA: 
There is no trace of oak in the wines, and there are no edges; they all feel sleek and elegant. This Dofí expresses the Mediterranean vintage from this vineyard at 300 to 320 meters in altitude, where the slate has a lot of iron, which turns the soils red and makes round and velvety wines, with flavors of red cherries, cherry pit, nectarines and even blood orange. The warm soils are compensated by mostly northern exposures. The palate has volume and is juicy, sensual and velvety, with some fine-grained tannins that currently call for food. It makes for a very gastronomical red. In 2018, there will be a separate bottling from one hectare of pure north-exposition grapes from Dofí, a new wine called La Baixada.

2017 Alvaro Palacios Finca Corullon Bierzo
Original Price: $59.99 
Sale Price: $51.99
96 Points WA: 
The sample of the 2017 Corullón showed a wider side of this village blend, where they have been focusing to get more precision through harvesting every plot the exact day it should be bottled. That's why they sold up to seven hectares of vineyards, the most challenging plots, those at higher altitude and with more challenging ripening conditions, enabling them to achieve an even more precise blend with the remaining grapes. I had a sample from one oak foudre that seemed to amplify the spicy side of the wine, with an herbal twist thrown in. The palate showed much better, with great balance and very fine tannins.


2017 Alvaro Palacios Finca Les Terrasses Priorat
Original Price: $61.99 
Sale Price: $55.99
92 Points JS: 
Enveloping black-cherry and blueberry aromas, but also notes of licorice and smoke. A bold and powerful Priorat with discreet oak and plenty of freshness. The tannins are supple and beautifully integrated, the finish generous and polished. Drink or hold.


2017 Alvaro Palacios Petalos Bierzo
Original Price: $22.99 
Sale Price: $19.99
93 Points WA: 2017 was a very unusual year in Bierzo, and here they started harvesting the 21st of August, when they had never started harvesting in August. There are more white grapes in the 2017 Pétalos del Bierzo, almost 10%, not because they wanted to lower the alcohol, because the alcohol was similar to 2016, but because the white grapes achieved perfect ripeness (Ricardo Pérez Palacios told me he's never seen such beautiful white grapes). The wine had been bottled the day before I tasted it, so they also showed me a tank and a barrel sample they had saved for the purpose of comparison. However, the bottled wine, the first produced at their new facilities, was really singing and didn't show any fatigue. The palate was vibrant, with acid strawberry flavors. It is very immediate, approachable, round and juicy, perhaps not with the depth and longevity of the 2014 but really pleasant and drinkable. Because they produce so much of this wine, they can't bottle it all at once, but they are expecting to fill some 340,000 bottles.

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