2021 Rafael Palacios Louro do Bolo
Named after its grape, this wine is made almost exclusively in and around Spanish Galicia. And especially in Valdeorras. Round, full taste, mild wood tones, soft acids, some spiciness and a pleasant blend of ripe citrus fruits with white fruit. Fresh exotic citrus fruit with notes of Szechuan pepper and flowers. In the mouth we experience well-integrated ripe acids, a charming plumpness, a rich and filled middle, with a discreet exotic touch in the retro. The whole is wrapped in an unobtrusive coat of barrel maturation with mineral characteristics. Its affinity with wood makes the wine an excellent alternative for those who are tired of Chardonnay. Rafael himself says that he makes the Spanish Grüner Veltliner !!
Valdeorras is one of the smaller and lesser known wine regions of Spain. It is located in Galicia in the northwest of the country, between the already more famous DOs of Rias Baixas and Bierzo. The vineyards of this wine are located at an altitude of 600 to 720 meters and consist mainly of sandy soils. Valdeorras, literally valley of gold, has a continental climate. Because it is about 150 kilometers inland, the influence of the Atlantic Ocean is much less than in other parts of Galicia.
Rafael Palacios is the youngest brother of Alvaro Palacios, who is best known for his project in the Priorat. The Palacios family has had the well-known Palacios-Remondo bodega in the Rioja town of Alfaro (Rioja Baja), where Alvaro left for Priorat in the late 1980s. Rafa is the youngest of 9 brothers and sisters and worked as an oenologist on the family domain in Rioja. He mainly focused on perfecting the white wine Plácet and thus got a taste for making top white wines in Spain.
After an internship in Valdeorras in Galicia, he was convinced that it would be here that he would make his great white wine with Godello, the typical white grape of this region. He left everything behind at the end of 2003, and in a few months he searched and bought the oldest vineyards Godello in the highest valley of Valdeorras, the Valle del Bibei. He especially looked for the highest, most difficult to access and smallest yielding vineyards, which the villagers were no longer interested in because they involved too much work and too little yield. He managed to buy 12 ha in a short time, rented a large garage and cellar nearby for vinification, and in 2004 he already made his first As Sortes. His 2nd wine, the Louro, followed one year later and since 2011 there is the base wine Bolo.
This wine immediately hit like a bomb and in a short time his wines gained a true cult status at home and abroad. In the meantime, he also uses small amounts of Treixadura and is already thinking about doing even better. The construction of the bodega itself is completely secondary to acquiring the best vineyards and making the best white wine, but in 2011 the plans have matured sufficiently for this too. Rafael himself calls the Godello the lung of his wines; it is a glyceric cépage, with very few aromas. Nevertheless, this grape is capable of true peak performance at high altitudes with a freshness that is unseen. Godello has naturally high tartrate acids, which guarantees a good evolution over time. The Treixadura is similar to the Godello, but has more aromatic capacities. Rafa now owns 21 ha, of which almost 20 ha are Godello and just over 1 ha Treixadura. He also controls 8 ha of Godello. All the plots are biologically cultivated. He does his best plots: Sorte O Soro, Sorte Antiga and Os Canieros entirely in biodynamics.
The name of the wine As Sortes is Galician for the heirlooms. After all, the Galician inheritance system is structured in such a way that each child receives an equal share of a plot of land, in this way the vineyards are of course incredibly fragmented and everyone gets a sorte or inheritance. It often happens that a vineyard of 1 ha is divided into 10 different heirlooms or sortes. The plural As Sortes are 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 an upper texture of coarse sand grains coming 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 pluviometrics are high, which means that the soils have a very low pH and therefore a very high acidity. All the sortes have the same bottoms, with only the texture and size of the grains varying. The altitude varies from 650 to 720 m.
The climate is continental with Atlantic influences. The height and orientation in particular determine the different microclimates. The most aromatic grapes due to their north orientation come from Sorte Val Verde, Antiga and Chandoiro. The freshest due to the high altitude are Sorte dos Santos, a Coalleira, Chao do Couso and O Serro. The most complex due to their south and south-west orientation and high altitude are Sorte O Soro, Os Caneiros and Falcoeira. 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 harvest. A 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 has been lightly toasted, over many hours with very low heat to open the pores of the barrique, but so that it is not marked by smoke or torrefaction flavours.
He does Bâtonnage less than before, as he notices that the wines lose character and personality by using the yeast cells too much. The As Sortes is fermented in large wooden casks of 500 liters for a good month, after which the wine is aged in the same vats for 6 months. Louro is fermented in 3000 liter foeders for one month and an additional élevage of 5 months. Bolo is vinified in stainless steel tanks.
|Type of Wine||White|
|Drinking as of||2022|
|Tasting Profiles||Dry, Fresh, Fruity, Mineral, Tense, White fruit|
|Drink moments||Borrelen, Cadeau!, Met vrienden, Summer party, Terras, Voor alledag|