Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2018
From Alvaro’s original vineyard, Finca Dofí is a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet, and Syrah. Like L’Ermita, Dofí combines power and richness with great breed and finesse. In most Priorat tastings that do not include L’Ermita, Dofí is the clear winner.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The origin of everything here and the first single-vineyard red, the 2018 Finca Dofí excels in 2018. The wine matured in large oak barrels (bocoyes and foudres) for 16 months. This is the refined version of the Gratallops (the vineyard is in the village!) but with an extra degree of depth and complexity, especially nuance and elegance, showcasing the captivating finesse and harmony of the vintage, which is a little in the style of the 2016 with more energy. I see that these 2018s are quite transparent and show the style of the zone, the iron soils, the dusty roads and the warmth of the soils; it's round and lush, spherical but with a spike of freshness. The élevage has been polished so as to render it almost invisible. This is drinkable now, and I think it's also going to age nicely in bottle and drink nicely throughout its life.
Dark-berry, walnut and tile character throughout. Medium to full body with a creamy texture and a flavorful finish. Very fine tannins. Caresses your palate. Subtle is the word.
The son of the owners of Rioja's Palacios Remondo, Alvaro Palacios spent his early 20s working and studying winemaking outside of Spain. His experience abroad - particularly in Bordeaux - instilled in him a deep passion for great wines and led him to return to Spain. With the ambition to make wines that could be world-class. To achieve this dream, Palacios was drawn to the historic hillsides of slate soil and its traditional grape varieties of Garnacha and Carinena. Now widely considered to be among the more important new Spanish wineries in a generation, Alvaro Palacios embodies the spirit of "The New Spain."
Tiny and entirely composed of craggy, jagged and deeply terraced vineyards, Priorat is a Catalan wine-producing region that was virtually abandoned until the early 1990s. Its renaissance came with the arrival of one man, René Barbier, who recognized the region’s forgotten potential. He banded with five friends to create five “Clos” in the village of Gratallops. Their aim was to revive some of Priorat’s ancient Carignan vines, as well as plant new—mainly French—varieties. These winemakers were technically skilled, well-trained and locally inspired; not surprisingly their results were a far cry from the few rustic and overly fermented wines already produced.
This movement escalated Priorat’s popularity for a few reasons. Its new wines were modern and made with well-recognized varieties, namely old Carignan and Grenache blended with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. When the demand arrived, scarcity commanded higher prices and as the region discovered its new acclaim, investors came running from near and far. Within ten years, the area under vine practically doubled.
Priorat’s steep slopes of licorella (brown and black slate) and quartzite soils, protection from the cold winds of the Siera de Monstant and a lack of water, leading to incredibly low vine yields, all work together to make the region’s wines unique. While similar blends could and are produced elsewhere, the mineral essence and unprecedented concentration of a Priorat wine is unmistakable.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.