Palacios, Valdeorras, Spain
Superb Godellos from Spain's Valdeorras wine region
Rafael Palacios is from the Palacios
Redondo family, and is the youngest of 9 brothers and sisters, aged
42. (Priorat superstar Alvaro was 7th of the 9; currently three
brothers and one nephew make wine.) Rafael worked in the family
winery in Rioja, studied in Bordeaux, and then went and worked in
Australia with Southcorp, before returning to Rioja where his main
contribution as the white wine ‘Placet’.
‘I started first by making white wines
in the family winery (Palacios Remondo) after my studies in France
and Australia, in 1994,’ he says. ‘In 1997 Placet was born, and
in 2000 my father died. In 2004 I decided to move to Valdeorras.’
He had discovered Godello in 1996. ‘I
found the Atlantic influence of Galician wines, but with some volume
and depth,’ recalls. ‘Everyone thinks of Galicia as humid and
cold. But of the 5 appellations, 4 have a Mediterranean influence in
Since 2004 he has purchased/rented 21
hectares of vineyards in the Val do Bibei, consisting of 26 separate
parcels, all on sandy granitic soils, and all planted with Godello.
Godello produces very small grape
bunches, and Rafael says it has a big capacity to transform acidity,
explaining that the juice isn’t so acid, but it does have a high
percentage of tartaric acid, with less of the less stable malic
acid. It’s a fragile variety in that winds can break the shoots.
It is so dry in summer that he needs to
get rid of the plant growth under and between the vines by
cultivation. The soils here are eroded granite, and drain very well,
which adds to water pressure. So in some vineyards he uses a straw
The grapes are hand harvested and pressed
very carefully. One of his presses is for a single barrel: 800 kg of
grapes, yielding 500 litres. Lauro is fermented in 3000 litre
foudres, but Rafael prefers cylindrical/conical to oval foudres
because the lees aren’t so deep. ‘I believe in oak,’ he says.
‘When you control the oxygen through the oak you make more clean
and fresh wines. It is contradictory.’
He works a lot with 500 litre barrels,
and these have their own cooling system. There are two holes in
them, with one for cooling. Each year, 20% of these barrels are
replaced with new ones.
Rafael Palacios Bolo Mountain Wine
Godello 2011 Valdeorras, Spain
This unoaked Godello is tight, fresh and citrussy with lovely
depth of flavour. There are fresh citrus and herb notes, as well as
a hint of toast and some pithiness. Very pure and fresh with good
Rafael Palacios Lauro 2011 Valdeorras,
Fine, fresh and expressive with grapefruit, pear and white peach
notes. Finely expressive palate is concentrated and intense with
lovely pure pear fruit and subtle nut and toast, as well as some
grapefruit freshness. 93/100
Rafael Palacios Lauro 2009 Valdeorras,
Nutty and slightly honeyed with some peach and pear notes.
Lively palate is fresh with complex toasty notes. Mineral, fine and
concentrated with nice acidity and complex pear and peach fruit.
Rich but precise. 92/100
Rafael Palacios As Sortes 2011
Fine, fresh and expressive with aromas of nuts, citrus and
herbs. The palate is lively and ripe with pear, peach, citrus and
some spice. Fine toasty notes, as well as apples. Lively, precise
and intense. 93/100
Rafael Palacios As Sortes 2009
Taut, mineral, precise nose of citrus and herbs. The palate has
grapefruit and melon notes: very taut with a bit of reduction.
Mineral and fine with real freshness as well as richness. 94/100
Rafael Palacios As Sortes 2007
Rounded and textured with honey and nuts.
Warm, rounded, intense palate is fruity with sweet honey and
nut notes. Broad and quite rounded but with a nice fresh mineral
acid core. Crystalline. 92/100
Rafael Palacios As Sortes 2005
Concentrated, fine and expressive. Mineral with some grapefruit
and lemon notes as well as white peach, pear and honeyed richness.
Fine and refined with real personality. 94/100
Palacios Sorte O Soro 2011 Valdeorras, Spain
Late harvested wine from 740 m altitude, first vintage, 100% new
oak. Fine, expressive, aromatic nose of taut citrus and grapefruit.
Crystalline pear, peach and citrus fruit palate is precise and
mineral with lovely depth. Swallows the new oak really well. 94/100,
potentiall more in time
agent is Indigo Wine
al Limit, Priorat
Find these wines with wine-searcher.com