2021 Rafael Palacios As Sortes
Rafael Palacios, brother of famous winemaker Alvaro Palacios from Priorat, started making wine in Valdeorras in 2004. He bought old vineyards with godello grapes from local farmers. All 22.5 hectares of the company are planted with this grape, spread over 26 vineyards. The age of the vines varies from 7 to 91 years old. All the plots are organically farmed. He does his best plots: Sorte O Soro, Sorte Antiga and Os Canieros completely in biodynamics. The name of the wine As Sortes is Galician for the 'heritage lots'. After all, the Galician inheritance law system is set up in such a way that every child receives an equal share of a piece of land, in this way the vineyards are of course incredibly fragmented and everyone gets a 'sorte' or inheritance lot. It often happens that a vineyard of 1 ha is divided into 10 different lots or 'sortes'. The plural As Sortes are thus many heirlooms together in one wine.
Rafa has his vineyards in Santa Cruz do Bolo, where the soil is different from the rest in Valdeorras. The soil here is completely granite, with a top texture of coarse sand grains originating from the eroded granite. The granite here is composed of feldspar, mica and quartz. Especially the quartz, a mineral of crystallized silicon, gives a mineral and salty character to the wines. The pluviometry is high, so that the soils have a very low pH and therefore a very high acidity. All the 'sortes' have the same soils, with only the texture and size of the grains varying. The altitude varies from 650 to 720 m.
What Rafa attaches great importance to is the selective harvest of each plot, just so as not to lose the unique character of the different plots. The grapes are placed on the selection table at the harvest. Cold maceration and the greatest possible protection against oxidation are other techniques he uses in order not to lose quality. The use of foeders is very important. Rafa selects the oak from northern French forests: the colder the forest, the less aromatic the wood, more neutral and with better oxygenation for the élevage sur lies. The wood is lightly toasted for many hours at very low heat so that the pores of the barrique open up, but so that it is not marked by smoke or torrefaction aromas. He does less Bâtonnage than before, as he notices that the wines lose character and personality by making too much use of the yeast cells. The As Sortes is fermented in large 500 liter wooden casks for a good month, after which the wine is aged in the same casks for 6 months.
The As Sortes is fresh, clean and complex and it is very different from other white wines from the Valdeorras. In the nose we smell notes of yellow fruit, citrus and spices accentuated by creamy accents and just a hint of smoke. The taste is medium-bodied with very good acidity, full and spicy but fresh and smooth at the same time. The aftertaste is somewhat salty and mineral and lingers on the palate for a long time. A maximum of 15,000 bottles of the As Sortes are produced and is an absolute must for those who are a bit tired of Chardonnay. The wine has a nice drinking window until at least 2028+.
|Type of Wine||White|
|Drinking as of||2023|
|Tasting Profiles||Dry, Fresh, Fruity, Mineral, Tense, White fruit|
|Drink moments||Borrelen, Cadeau!, Met vrienden, Summer party, Terras, Voor alledag|