The Alvaro Palacios Winery, in Gratallops, is the most prestigious Priorat DOQ wine cellar in the world.
Álvaro Palacios Muro (Natural de Alfaro, 9 March 1964 is an oenologist and wine producer from the Rioja Baja region of Spain. He is the son of a large and traditional family with five generations of Riojan winemakers, Palacios Remondo. He has 9 siblings. He studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux (Bordeaux, France) under the tutelage of Jean Pierre Moueix and Château Pétrus, a legend of the world of wines.
Nowadays, he is one of the most internationally recognized Spanish oenologists. In 2013, the specialist magazine' Wine Espectator' chose its wine' Álvaro Palacios Priorat Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes 2011' as one of the' Best 100 wines of the year'.
After finishing his academic training, he completed his internship in some of the most prestigious viticultural properties in the world, among them Pétrus. It was there, seeing how they made some of the most expensive wines on the market, that he decided to do something similar in Spain. In 1989, at the age of 24, he found that mountainous and wine-growing place he dreamed of while visiting his friend René Barbier, a former employee of his parents' winery. It was 60 kilometres from Barcelona, in Priorat, a renowned Spanish wine region, where it was established to make great classic wines in those terraces and liquor stores, together with three friends, Josep Lluís Pérez, Carles Pastrana and René Barbier himself.
Alvaro Palacios was hesitating between Priorat and Bierzo, a wonderful region and natural region of León, northern Spain. Thanks to the help of his nephew Ricardo, he was able to combine the two vineyards years later, in 1999. Together with his nephew he founded the winery and vineyards in Corullón.
More than 20 years after having found what he wanted to do in his life, Alvaro Palacios has become the most famous author of Spanish wines, with an extraordinary international projection. His creations are marketed in 75 countries, with the three major creations L?Ermita, Finca Dofí and Les Terrasses.
He acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofi, in 1990. Then, in 1993, one finds what is now considered the crown jewel. The winery Álvaro Palacios in Priorat created L' Ermita, its most marketed wine. While in his winery he contacted the School of Oenology at the University of Bordeaux, to ensure that, with the raw material of the area, expensive wines could be obtained and placed among those of the world's top-ranked range.
Years later he managed to turn L' Ermita into the most expensive wine in Spain, a position he occupied until Pingus 1999. The renowned writer on wines, the British writer John Radford, in' The New Spain' (1998), classified it as "the best red wine in Spain".
Palacios's passions, in this interview for Apuntes de Vino, Palacios says that he thinks more of vineyards than wines when asked about his best wines. I tell my daughter and my nephew that L' Ermita (Priorat) and La Faraona (Bierzo) do not belong to us, that they belong to the patrimony of Spain, which is part of everyone, and that we have had the legacy, not to recover them because they were there, but to understand them.
He says that the wine he would take to a deserted island would be Champagnes millésimes and he says that "the wine is not as sophisticated as it is raised in the New World. You have to go back to the regular glass, even the boot. He confesses that his favorite place in the world is nature, sea urchin and viticulture is one of his main passions.
With a production of 1,300 bottles per harvest, L' Ermita is handcrafted with the utmost care with only two French oak barrels of 500L for 18 months.
L' Ermita de Alvaro Palacios, year after year it gets the recognition of critics who consider it a wine that touches perfection.