Meeting Alvaro Palacios

Alvaro Palacios 
Sponsored by Woodman Wine and Spirits, the latest WineAlign event featured the wines of Spanish winemaker, Alvaro Palacios. The evening was held at the Spoke Club, located in the trendy downtown Toronto King West district.
The flight - get ready!

This was a more formal structured tasting of ten wines from three regions of Spain, followed by a tapas reception. We were in for a treat because Alvaro himself conducted the tasting. He kept all of us eager vinophiles engaged as he explained, in great detail, the wine history of Spain and his journey towards becoming a winemaker. Afterward, the reception provided an opportunity to meet the charming winemaker and other WineAlign members. While chatting with Alvaro, I discovered that he and I share an affinity for wine books (mine is really an obsession). Being the wine-book nerd that I am, I lugged my most recent purchase to the tasting and had him sign it. He gladly did with a sparkly silver marker. By the end of the night I found him sitting at a table flipping through the book admiring the pictures. Ah wine books...I just love them! If only I had time to read them all. In the meantime, they look very scholarly sitting on my bookshelf...

The Yummy Grape meets
Alvaro Palacios, one of Spain's most
respected winemakers
If you want to read more about the event,
David Lawrason and John Szabo have a great article:

David Lawrason of WineAlign
introducing the wines of
Alvaro Palacios
After studying oenology in Bordeaux, and training under Jean-Pierre Moueix at the renowned Chateau Petrus, Alvaro returned to Spain and helped revolutionize Spanish wine.  He credits his experience in Bordeaux for much of his winemaking philosophy.  It showed him the “importance of great wines” and provided him with a key reference point for his own endeavours.  His wines have won him cult status and are highly respected by the wine press.  The Wine Spectator has called Alvaro “Spain’s Most Exciting Winemaker”, in 2003 Wine & Spirits Magazine named him their “Winemaker-of-the-Year” Decanter has called him “Spain’s most talked about winemaker”. -

Alvaro Palacios
About Alvaro Palacios on the Decanter website:

From the influence of the Romans thousands of years ago to the innovations brought by Bordeaux, present day Rioja is the region most synonymous with Spain. Here, the Tempranillo grape is king of the reds and Virua exists as queen of the whites.

Alvaro Palacios
Camins del Priorat

This region become famous only recently. Old vines and steep terraces not only give way to picturesque views but the wines, modernized and re-invigorated by a group of young winemakers a couple of decades ago, are now highly sought after. Red wines are Grenache-based and often blended with Carignan. The use of international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon is often used as well in blending.

Alvaro Palacios, son of the Rioja family of the same name, was the most successful one of a group of pioneers who planted vines on the inhospitable slopes around Gratallops in the late 1980s. In doing so, he helped to change the perception of Priorat's wines forever. - Eyewitness Companions "Wines of the World"

Situated in the northwestern part of Spain, this is one of the hot upcoming regions. The rugged landscape and high elevation suit the red Mencia grape which is often found on very old vines.

This wine comes through
Vintages so keep
an eye out
Wine Spectator Top 100 Most Exciting Wines of 2011 #26 
Petalos 2009

Alvaro Palacios built his legend on the stunning wines he has crafted from the farthest reaches of Spain, from Priorat to Bierzo. Palacios’ latest project features another rising star — the obscure Mencía grape. In the Bierzo appellation, perched in the Northwest corner of Spain, ancient Mencía vineyards emerge from the steepest of hillsides, their roots deeply set into unique, mineral-laden soils. Under the skilled hands of Palacios and his nephew, Ricardo Perez Palacios, the forgotten black grape (believed by some to be a cousin of Cabernet Franc), has achieved new heights. The 60- to 100 year-old vines yield less than one ton per acre, resulting in a most concentrated, unique expression of this variety and of the Bierzo terroir. -
I urge you to join WineAlign. With excellent reviews by both critics and consumers, it's a one-stop resource for all present and past wines at the LCBO. Plus the articles and videos are cool too!

             Me encanta el vino!
Check out the great portfolio of Woodman Wines and Spirits, including the wines of Alvaro Palacios:

"Meet the Winemaker" on the DebraMasterofWine YouTube channel
This episode features Alvaro Palacios 

Video about Alvaro Palacios and Priorat
Worth watching for the ariel shots (in Spanish)