Alvaro Palacios is no stranger to great Spanish viticulture. Born into one of Rioja’s most respected winemaking estates, Palacios Remondo, Alvaro left Spain to pursue oenology studies in Bordeaux, which led to a coveted position working at Pétrus. After gaining once-in-a-lifetime experience in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, Alvaro returned to Spain and began to explore the country’s many diverse viticultural areas.
Although his travels brought him to many of Spain’s most beautiful landscapes, it was ultimately the rugged terrain of Priorat that captured his heart. He acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofi, back in 1989, followed by the hallowed L’Ermita vineyard in 1993. Since the estate’s inception, Alvaro has fervently followed organic farming practices, and is passionate about the region’s signature varieties, Garnacha and Cariñena, as well as a number of other indigenous varieties and white grapes.
While L’Ermita remains the estate’s top-tier cru (Gran Vinya Classificada), Alvaro’s additional bottlings are made with just as much attention to detail. Finca Dofí is a foudre-aged, Garnacha-dominant blend crafted with a small amount of Cariñena, Picapoll and white grapes from one single vineyard. In addition to these long-standing cuvées, Alvaro recently began bottling other cellar-worthy wine from newly acquired plots, including Les Aubagetes planted in 1901(Garnacha and Cariñena from 122-year-old vines), La Baixada (planted in 1996, with the first vintage bottled in 2018), and the village blend Gratallops from 2007, which was the first wine to officially be bottled under the Vi de la Villa designation—Spain’s first serious attempt to mark territorial boundaries and define the style of village wines within the DOQ of Priorat.
Now three decades in, Alvaro has firmly established himself as one of Priorat’s most pioneering producers. The area’s staggering vineyards are rooted in slate and schist-based soils, and are certainly no easy feat to farm, though forward-thinking producers like Alvaro have long seen the potential in this hidden gem region. In addition to his estate in Priorat, Alvaro is also a co-founder of Descendientes de J. Palacios, a Bierzo-based estate created in conjunction with his nephew Ricardo. Palacios’ wines are known for their incredible balance between concentration and elegance, as well as their ability to withstand decades in the cellar.