Alvaro Palacios - L'Ermita - Priorat

Colour: Red
Country: spain
Producer: alvaro palacios
Grape: Cabernet grenache merlot Syrah
Region: catalonia
Appellation: priorat

If anyone embodies the promise and spirit of “The New Spain,” it’s Alvaro Palacios. His L’Ermita is widely considered—along with Peter Sisseck’s Dominio de Pingus—to be the most important Spanish wine of the modern era.

Ricardo Perez, created a tiny jewel of a domaine in the town of Corullón, on Bierzos western border. Descendientes de J. Palacios—named for Alvaros 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 Spains closest kin to the great domaines of Burgundys Côte dOr.

  • 98 Points - The Wine Advocate

    ”The 2013 vintage was a very hard act to follow, as for me it was the best vintage ever, but the 2014 L'Ermita is also extremely impressive. The grapes from the mixed varieties found in the old vines (mostly Garnacha with around 8% Cariñena and 1% white grapes) planted in that north facing, cool amphitheater of Gratallops achieved amazing parameters, 14.8% alcohol with a pH of 3.16 (very low) and 6.3 grams of acidity. The destemmed and lightly crushed grapes always ferment in an oak vat with their natural yeasts followed by malolactic in barrique and an élevage of some 16 months. The grapes were harvested on October 28th, extremely late, but not as late as 2013, which was a record. But, 2014 was not as healthy as 2013 and there was some botrytis. Álvaro Palacios told me he had two guys at l'Ermita vineyard removing rotten grapes from the vines with tweezers for the last twenty-something days before they harvested it. It clearly paid back, as there is no trace of rot; in fact, the wine is ultra clean, floral and subtle, and despite not being light, the high acidity makes it feel a lot more ethereal than it really is. This time I really felt a descriptor Palacios often uses for this wine, pink grapefruit. Its acidity makes you salivate, but there is a silkiness in the texture like no other wine in the collection. Pit fruit, cherry and peach, pomegranate, dried roses, pink peppercorns, wet slate and acid berries. This is a l'Ermita for the long haul and at the helm with the very best vintages, flirting with perfection. Sheer class.” Luis Gutiérrez

  • 100 Points - The Wine Advocate

    ”As I put my nose in the glass of the 2013 L'Ermita, my heart started beating faster. If we all thought 2012 was scarce and expensive, wait for the 2013. Made mostly of Garnacha with some 8% Cariñena and a pinch of white grapes interspersed in the vineyard, the L'Ermita fermented in oak vats with natural yeasts, and underwent malo in barrel where the wine then matured for 16 months. The grapes took a very long time to ripen and even if they were waiting for the acidity to go down, the final bottled wine (after malolactic) has an unbelievable pH of 3.26, figures that are seldom seen outside of whites without malo. The nose shows extremely elegant and balanced with citric freshness, blood orange and grapefruit peel, violets and lilies, earth and Mediterranean herbs. The bottle I tasted should have been in bottle shock, as it was bottled on 12/02/2015, exactly one week before I wrote this note. The wine explodes in your mouth, filling it with enormous brutal volume and finely threaded, sharp acidity. This is probably the best L'Ermita to date and is a legendary wine. I just couldn't get myself to spit this wine, which went down like velvet on my throat. Velvet? No, satin! Unfortunately 2013 was the latest harvest ever, the north-facing amphitheater of L'Ermita was harvested on November 5. In this nearly catastrophic vintage (yield-wise...), no more than 640 bottles were filled. Unobtainable and truly world class.” Luis Gutiérrez

  • 95 Points - The Wine Advocate

    ”The 2011 L’Ermita suffers a bit in comparison with the nearly perfect 2010. Yields in 2011 were even lower than in 2010 (and both were relatively large vintages, as there will be no more than 500 bottles of 2012 or 2013), 3.64 hectoliters per hectare. It has a riper nose than the 2010 (aren’t comparisons awful?) with earthy notes of soil (beetroot?), peat, violets, ripe peach and juicy fruit flavors. It’s elegant yet powerful, ripe and with grainy tannins. It feels very organic, soil-driven, full and ripe. Today I prefer the palate to the nose. In case you’re interested in a second opinion, Alvaro Palacios himself was telling me how he prefers L’Ermita 2011 over 2010, which he finds fuller. Today we disagree, but maybe in a few years our opinions might converge.” Luis Gutiérrez

  • 99 Points - The Wine Advocate

    ”The grapes fermented in oak vats and then aged for 16 months in new French oak barrels. The wine presents itself with an incredible freshness, the nose full of citric notes of blood orange (Alvaro talks about grapefruit), Mediterranean herbs, licorice, violets and aniseed, pure elegance and subtly, with electric, lively acidity (according to the technical data, it has a pH of 3.3, a figure far more common in whites than in reds), pungent flavors, and very good grip. Graceful, elegant, vibrant. The oak is imperceptible, fully integrated into the wine, both in the nose and the palate, as only the very best grapes in the world can do: this is a truly world-class wine, and one of the best (if not the best) L’Ermita ever produced. It’s approachable now, but it should age and improve slowly and for a very long time. ” Luis Gutiérrez

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