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33 Masterchefs of Belgium

Alvaro Palacios

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At his Fortieth year, Alvaro Palacios seemed to have accomplished everything. Born into a family of wine growers - owners of Bodegas Palacios Ramondo -, he fulfills his apprenticeship about twenty years ago with Christian Moueix at Château Petrus and Château Trotannoy. He then accompanies the Catalan René Barber in the Priorato. Strongly impressed by old soils and their qualitative potential, he decided to create his vineyard in this lost place, 135 kilometers southwest of Barcelona. In accordance with his own words of Palacios, the general belief is that "yields are too low, the ground is impossible and requires manual labor for the most part" and that there is little chance that the business is profitable. But he has proved the defeatists wrong.

The first vintage Ermita 1993 immediately entered the club for superstars of Spanish winemaking. This cuvée, composed between 80 % and 90 % of Grenache (old vines) and balanced by of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan old vines, attracted extraordinary reactions throughout Spain and in the rest of the world.

The State-of-the-art Enterprise Alvaro Palacios, which dominates the village of Gratallops at the top of its hill, reflects its preponderant influence and its ongoing efforts to revolutionize the Spanish wine industry.

Alvaro Palacios, architect of the success of the Ermita, summarizes with conviction: "the winemaking philosophy consist by expressing the nature of the terroir with more transparency and the highest purity."
A unisue system of managing the vines which are trimmed in height enables to cultivate this steep vineyard, stories in terraces, with the help of mules. The fruits are destemmed by hand. Maceration lasts 25 days and fermentation takes place in vats before the reassembly. Since 1999, the fermentation is done in casks. The clarification is done by pasting the egg without filtration. The wine then evolves for 16 to 18 months in new French wooden barrels.

Alvaro Palacios, Vineyards l'Ermita


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