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Rafael Palacios As Sortes 2015

Godello from Valdeorras, Spain
  • RP94
0% ABV
  • JD95
  • WS93
  • RP94
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Winemaker Notes

As Sortes (sorte being the Galician word for a lot drawn to determine vineyard inheritance) is made from Rafa’s oldest vines from the sortes of O Soro, Antigua, Os Caneiros, A Falcoeira, Alexos and A Coalleira. These sites have been fully converted to organic farming. As with the other wines at the estate the fruit is hand harvested and fermented with indigenous yeasts in the 500L French oak demi-muids. The wine is then aged in the same barrel for 7 months before bottling. Rafa replaces about 20% of these barrels each year.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2015 As Sortes blends Godello grapes from several plots in the Bibei Valley at some 680 meters and higher from old vines at least 40 years of age on granitic soils rich in sand. The vines are farmed organically and following the biodynamical calendar. 2015 was a warm, dry and early harvest, with some rains one week after the harvest started, which helped to achieve a good ripeness. After a short skin maceration in the press, the juice was put to ferment in 500-liter French oak barrels with indigenous yeasts. The wine matured on the fine lees in those barrels for some six months. The vintages since 2012 have gained in precision, using less new oak and working with a lot more care to look after the barrels, and the wines are a lot more elegant and fresher than they were in their initial vintages. In the past, a warm vintage like 2015 could have resulted in a warmer and oakier wine, but tasting it now it feels like a cool year! There are floral aromas, and it has power and elegance, balance and freshness, with all that is needed to develop in bottle for a long time. I tasted it next to the 2014, and there are just minor, minor differences; 2015 is slightly more powerful, but the quality level is very similar. This is a superb year for As Sortes. Bravo! 20,800 bottles were filled in July 2016.
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Rafael Palacios

Rafael Palacios

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Rafael Palacios, Valdeorras, Spain
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Rafael Palacios began his wine project in Valdeorras in 2004, purchasing mature vineyards of the indigenous Godello variety from older local growers. His previous experience in the area as a consultant had motivated him to try and recuperate the unique sub-zone of the Bibei Valley in the Municipality of O Bolo.

The extreme topography and the low productivity of the soil had led to the almost complete abandonment of grape production in this tiny but historic county, cultivated traditionally on terraces. The predominance of small plots is the result of inheritances drawn by lot, often out of a hat, called "Sorte" in the Galician language and the inspiration for the name As Sortes.


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Just to the south of Bierzo, the steeply terraced Valdeorras region is a respected source of both red and white wines. Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet) and Mencía are the principal red varieties while Godello and Palomino compose the majority of this region's whites.

Native to northwest Spain and experiencing a major revival in the last 20 years, Godello wines are typically sleek and lightly creamy in texture. Barrel fermentation and lees stirring are typical in Valdeorras, Spain where the grape comes from. These winemaking techniques make the most of Godello's inherent structure and help bring out its lovely floral character. Aromas of honeysuckle blossom and bright citrus flavors such as Meyer lemon, lime and kiwi are common. DNA profiling says that Spain’s Godello is actually identical to the Portugese grape variety Gouveio, which grows throughout the Douro and Dão (where it used to mistakenly be called Verdelho). If you are new to this grape and need a reference point, it could be likened to Chenin blanc in aroma, texture and flavors. Try it with lobster, King Crab, or rich seafood pasta dishes.

ESLEC6408_2015 Item# 348784