History and Background
Born into the esteemed Palacios Remondo winemaking family in Rioja, Álvaro Palacios chose to forge his own path. After studying oenology in Bordeaux and working for a brief period at the iconic Château Pétrus, he returned to Spain. Instead of joining the family business in Rioja, he was drawn to the historic but then little-known region of Priorat in the late 1980s. Here, he saw the potential for making world-class wines.
Vineyards and Terroir
Álvaro Palacios has vineyard interests in several regions:
Priorat: The rugged, mountainous terrain of Priorat, with its unique llicorella (slate) soils, is where Palacios truly made his mark. He believed in the old Garnacha and Cariñena vines' potential, which had been largely forgotten.
Bierzo: Later in his career, Palacios ventured to Bierzo, where he and his nephew Ricardo Pérez Palacios established Descendientes de J. Palacios. Here, the focus is on the Mencía grape, grown on slate and granite soils.
Rioja: Eventually, Palacios also took over the family estate, Palacios Remondo, in Rioja Baja, bringing his innovative approach to this renowned region.
Wine Style and Production
Álvaro Palacios is known for crafting wines that express the terroir with purity and elegance. His wines often reflect a balance between power and finesse:
In Priorat, his flagship wine "L'Ermita" has achieved cult status, known for its depth, complexity, and ability to age.
In Bierzo, the wines are often more floral and mineral-driven, showcasing the freshness of the Mencía grape.
In Rioja, he emphasizes Garnacha's fruitiness, producing wines that are both approachable and capable of aging.
Across all regions, biodynamic and organic farming practices, minimal intervention in the winery, and a deep respect for the land are consistent themes.
Álvaro Palacios is often credited with revitalizing the Priorat region and putting it on the global wine map. His wines consistently receive high scores from critics and are sought after by collectors worldwide. Beyond the accolades, he's respected for his vision, passion, and unwavering belief in Spain's native grape varieties and terroirs.
Álvaro Palacios is a beacon of innovation and tradition in the Spanish wine industry. His journey from Priorat to Bierzo and back to his family roots in Rioja tells a story of exploration, belief, and reverence for the land. For those keen on understanding the depth and diversity of Spanish wines, the wines of Álvaro Palacios offer a masterclass in terroir expression.