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Rafael Palacios

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!

  • Louro 2017
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    Rafael Palacios

    Louro 2017

    $40.00

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    $40.00 per bottle | $240.00 case of 6

    (plus tax and bottle deposit)

     

    Small amounts of Treixadura are blended with Godello, with fermentation taking place in 3,000 litre French oak foudre. As Rafael explains, “We use the oak to give the wine oxygen rather than to make it oaky or smokey.”

    Louro imparts slight aromas of hay and a fine lees-like character. The wine’s pear and white peach notes are complimented by excellent acidity. Hints of nut and honey add extra complexity and length to this stunning wine.

    Alcohol: 13.5%

    Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate 92, Wine Spectator 90

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  • As Sortes 2017
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    Rafael Palacios

    As Sortes 2017

    $600.00

    $100.00 per bottle | $600.00 case of 6

    (plus tax and bottle deposit)

    Because of the unforgiving topography of the region and low fertility of the soil, almost all of the terraced vineyards were abandoned over the past century. To determine inheritance, rights to the small plot vineyards were drawn by lot, often out of a hat, the process called “Sorte” in Galician.

    Made from 39 to 94 year old vines growing at the highest altitudes on the north face of the Bibei Valley, the sandy, shallow granite soils result in low fertility and even lower yields. However, these conditions produce wines that have strong terroir expressiveness and personality.

    Like all of Rafael’s wines, the hand-picked grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts in 500 litre French oak demi-muids. The wine is then aged in barrel for 7 months and then bottled.

    The nose is an intoxicating mix of white fruits and herbs. In the mouth, richness and complexity are balanced by excellent minerality. With hints of apricots, marmalade and nuts, As Sortes is lively, precise and intense.

    Alcohol: 13.5%

    Luis Gutierrez, The Wine Advocate 94,  Wine Spectator 92

     

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