One of nine children born to the owners of Rioja’s respected Palacios Remondo, Alvaro studied enology in Bordeaux, while working under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Ch. Pétrus. He credits his tenure at Pétrus for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him “the importance of great wines.”
He acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofí, in 1990. Then, in 1993, he located what is now regarded as the crown jewel property in Priorat, a precipitous, northeast-facing Garnacha vineyard on well-drained schist that had been planted between 1900 and 1940. Alvaro named it L’Ermita for a small chapel, or hermitage, that sits atop the hill.
In 1995, the flow of critical praise for Alvaro’s L’Ermita began, and it hasn’t stopped. But Alvaro remained haunted by another remote area of great potential: Bierzo, in far Northwestern Spain. Bierzo, too, had all the ingredients to make great wine: incredibly steep hillside vineyards; distinctive terroirs; and, most importantly, ancient vineyards of Mencía, a unique red grape believed brought by French pilgrims during the Middle Ages.
So in 1998, Alvaro and his nephew, Ricardo Perez, created a tiny jewel of a domaine in the town of Corullón, on Bierzo’s western border. Descendientes de J. Palacios—named for Alvaro’s father—produces as many as seven different wines, depending on the year. And since the first vintage in 1999, Descendientes has proven that it is Spain’s closest kin to the great domaines of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or.
La Vendimia 2016, Rioja
La Vendimia, 'the harvest,' is a delicious joven, a young Rioja, made for simple foods. The fruit sits at some 500m and the estate-owned 10-to 40 year-old vines have been grown organically since 2003. Drink now with lamb, veal or even fish,or hold through 2019.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 90 Points
Petalos 2015, Bierzo
Pétalos del Bierzo has found the fluidity it has been given by the excellent 2016 vintage with a predominant Atlantic climate. A wine with an aromatic character of violets and red fruits that perfectly combine with a light structure in the mouth. A wine to be introduced to the fantastic region of El Bierzo.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate - 92 Points
Camins Del Priorat 2016, Priorat
The blend is 35 percent garnacha, 25 percent cariñena, 15 percent cabernet sauvignon, 15 percent syrah and 10 percent merlot. Camins del Priorat presents a kaleidoscope of flavours from savoury, spicy dark cherries to cassis, cloves and a touch of roasted tomato, root vegetables and licorice but never out of balance.
Wine Spectator - 91 Points
Les Terrasses 2014, Priorat
The 2014 Les Terrasses Velles Vinyes is a blend of 60% Garnacha and 40% Cariñena from different villages. This is always a characterful wine, with the unmistakable signature of the Cariñena with the rusticity of the dusty roads of Priorat. The palate is really lively, with some dusty tannins and high acidity.It's long and it finishes with a mineral sensation.
Wine Spectator - 93 Points
L 'Ermita 2006, Priorat
This shows sweet, pure, smooth, elegant red berry fruits in the nose with a liqueur-like edge. The palate is pure and smooth with sweet, lush fruit and lovely minerality. It’s rich yet elegant with freshness and minerality pointing towards its Priorat origins.