Sarah Jane Evans MW gets a sneak preview of Alvaro Palacios 2015 vintage wines at the London en primeur tasting. See her report and tasting notes below.

Alvaro Palacios was in London this week (17th March) presenting his 2015 vintage wines. On show were his wines from Priorat, including the new Les Aubagetes; the new Quiñon de Valmira, a single vineyard from Rioja Baja; and the latest releases from Descendientes de J Palacios, run by his nephew Ricardo Pérez, in Bierzo.

All the wines were distinguished by freshness and elegance, and with alcohols at around 14%.

In Priorat and Rioja Baja, Palacios has been continuing the focus on Garnacha. ‘It’s already too late for Garnacha in many places. As a variety it has a problem of berry set which is why Tempranillo replaced it everywhere. That’s why my life is all about grafting – grafting the Garnacha over Tempranillo rootstocks. With bush vines it’s not easy, you have to go right down to the root to find fresh wood to graft.’

In Bierzo Ricardo Pérez, Alvaro Palacios’ nephew, farms the grapes biodynamically. In terms of ageability of the wines he says: ‘the good thing about Mencía is that it’s enjoyable now, and does not change much in five years. For longer ageing, the Continental vintages [2010, 2011] have the best potential.’ He believes 2013 and 2014 were Atlantic vintages, and 2015 ‘is in the middle’.

Where will Palacios go to next? Nowhere, it seems. ‘You can’t make top level wine and be a flying winemaker – you have to be a real vigneron, and it has to be your life.’ What about Jerez? ‘Maybe when I retire…’

Read Sarah-Jane Evans’ tasting notes on the Alvaro Palacios 2015 wines (en primeur)