Unit price: HUF 606 667 / litre. Our prices are gross prices.
Alongside his eight siblings, Alvaro Palacios grew up on the famous Rioja estate of the Palacios Remondo family, so from the beginning, he was destined to be working with wine. He didn't stop until Chateau Petrus, from where he returned after several years of work experience. For a while he was dealing with barrels, visiting the historic wine regions of Spain as a salesman of a cooperage. It was during such a trip that he made it to Priorat, which was almost unknown at the time, and he immediately fell in love with the old terraces of vines lined up since the 12th century and the thin slate (licorella) soil. Since the 1989 vintage, his name has been intertwined with the wine region – his first vineyard here was Finca Dofí, then in 1993, he acquired the legendary grand cru vineyard that had been planted between 1900 and 1940, called L'Ermita. Ever since the early vintages, it has been one of Spain's best-selling and most highly-priced wines. At the time of Alvaro’s appearance in 1989, four wineries were operating in Priorat, purchasing the grapes of local farmers as cooperatives, and then selling the wine unbottled for less than €1 per litre. Ten years later, more than 400 euros were paid for a bottle of L'Ermita.
Priorat’s most valuable vineyard, L'Ermita, lies on the edge of Gratallops. The barely 1.5-hectare plot was planted in 1939 with bush vines of Garnacha, Cariñena and a few white varieties. The grapes collected in baskets (92% Garnacha, 7% Cariñena, 1% white varieties – Garnacha Blanca, Pedro Ximenez, Macabeo) are fermented in open wooden vats, into which typically 20-30% of whole bunches are added. Ageing is carried out in large barrels, which lasts for 14-15 months. It’s a symmetrical, precise wine that’s bursting with power. It has a compact, very complex structure, with violets and wildflowers on the mineral, stony nose, plus blueberry and sour cherry. The palate is refined and has a deep taste. It’s very long. In 2020, even fewer grapes were yielded here than usual, so a total of 1,441 bottles were made.
James Suckling gave it 100 points.
Alvaro Palacios is not an easily frightened man. As a descendant of one of the most famous viticulturist family in Spain he decided that his father's results and his eight brothers' (!) ambitions, who are also very committed to the wine, would not frighten away from his goal, which was not less than making a wine which could mix the good qualities of Pétrus and Grange. Nothing was left to chance, he learnt the viticulture and wine-growing in Bordeaux, then he worked for the great Château Pétrus in Pomerol by the side of Jean Pierre Moueix. After his return to Spain he naturally chose the more difficult way: instead of drawing back into the safety of the family cellar in Rioja he bought his first vine-plantation in Priorat.