Coming from the closest thing to a winemaking royal family in the area of Rioja, Rafael Palacios took a major step out of his comfort zone creating his namesake vintage. Instead of trying to compete with his brother Alvaro on the family land, he left the Palacios terroir in La Rioja and ventured out to a different, much more arduous region.
Rafael began recovering old vineyards in the Valdeorras DO in Galicia, near the border with Portugal, working with the nearly extinct Godello grape varietal.
At extremely high altitudes, many of the vines Rafael worked with were over 100 years old. Using a hands-off approach, Rafael leveraged organic farming and hand harvesting methods to create some seriously striking wines. With his expertise and talent, he has been able to give Godello a renaissance of sorts in restaurants around the world.
He set his own vision and found his individual identity as a winemaker, creating some of the finest white wines in Spain and the globe. His vintages reflect the mineral-rich terroir, as well as the mountainous region at which the grapes are grown.
Rafa is one of the true statesmen of wine in Spain and one of the smoothest. On our first bodega visit after lunch, he very elegantly talked his way out of a speeding ticket with the local coppers. Nice work Rafa!