The wines of Alvaro Palacios, Priorat, Spain
A remarkable range of wines from this spectacular Catalan wine region

One of Spain’s most important and influential producers, Alvaro Palacios is making stunning wines in Priorat and Bierzo. They’re expensive, yes, but they’re thrilling with it.

His family come from Rioja: he’s one of the nine kids of the owner of Bodega Palacios Remondo (see my review of their wines here). But rather than work with the family domain, he wanted to do things a bit differently.  

After studying winemaking in Bordeaux, and spending two years working at Château Petrus in Pomerol, he opted for the Priorat region, where he bought his first vineyard, Finca Dofí, in 1990. To this he added the now iconic L’Ermita vineyard in 1993. As well as making acclaimed single vineyard wines from these regions, he also makes the more affordable and accessible Les Terrasses, made from bought in fruit.

Alvaro also makes wines in Bierzo, in a joint venture with nephew Ricardo Perez that was started in 1998, called Descendientes de J Palacios. You can read about these here. His brother Rafael Palacios makes wines in Valdeorras.


Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2011 Priorat, Spain
From young vines. So sweet and pure on the nose with jammy, fresh blackberry and raspberry fruit. The palate is fresh, ripe, open and sweetly fruited with lovely grip. Such a pretty wine. 93/100

Alvaro Palacios Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes 2010 Priorat, Spain
This is made from 60+ year old vines in different villages of the region. Exotic, sweet, floral black cherry fruit nose. Lovely supple, sweet, smooth palate showing ripe black fruits with good definition and silky tannins. Lovely. 94/100

Alvaro Palacios Gratallops 2009 Priorat, Spain
This comes from six different vineyards in Gratallops. Amazing combination of ripe black fruits and fine chalky minerality. Some spice, too. Great concentration and mouthfeel. Pure, ripe, pretty and balanced. 95/100

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2009 Priorat, Spain
Mostly Garnacha, with a dribble of Cabernet and Syrah. Sweet, warm, rounded and spicy with some mineral notes. Some structure, too. Very ripe with nice mineral, spicy depth. Dense and full with attractive black fruits. 94/100

Alvaro Palacios L'Ermita 2009 Priorat, Spain
Single vineyard, just Garnacha. Beguiling sweetly aromatic nose. Pure, exotic, pretty and rounded. Great concentration on the palate with savoury, spicy, mineral notes. Fine and detailed with great precision as well as richness. 96/100

Also, these older notes from 2009:

Alvaro Palacios Les Terrases 2006 Priorat
This is Alvaro’s entry-level Priorat, but it’s still pretty impressive, in an accessible, modern, fruit-driven mould. Sweet, focused berry and cherry fruit dominate here, with nice structure and balance. 90/100 (£21.75 BBR)

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofí 2006 Priorat
Very modern, pure, elegant nose showing lush dark fruits. On the palate there’s a minerally streak under the dense fruit. Pure and modern, but if you look below the sweet fruit there’s some of that Priorat minerality that’s just so delicious. 92/100 (£45.95 BBR)

Alvaro Palacios L’Ermita 2006 Priorat
Probably Spain’s most expensive wine? This shows sweet, pure, smooth, elegant red berry fruits in the nose with a liqueur-like edge. The palate is pure and smooth with sweet, lush fruit and lovely minerality. It’s rich yet elegant with freshness and minerality pointing towards its Priorat origins. Lovely wine. (£410 BBR)

UK Agent FMV

See also:

Visiting Rioja (series)
Terroir al Limit, Priorat
Visiting Torres' Priorat property

Wines tasted 06/13  
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