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Rafael Palacios, Louro Godello 2018
Rafael Palacios' exemplary old vine Godello from Valdeorras - ripe apples and a hint of blossom honey , creamy texture and mineral finish -delicious stuff . From mature vineyards in the O Bolo valley . The kind of white to have with roast pork or a fish pie.
Louro is a blend of Godello with a small amount of Treixadura from parcels located in the villages of Chandoiro, Lentellais, Outardepregos and Santa Cruz. After decades of conventional farming, the organic practices of Rafa have begun to revitalize the soils of these sites and Louro is becoming more complex with each vintage. Louro is fermented in French oak foudres and aged on its lees for four months. Up to 10% of the blend in Louro will be Treixadura, a variety that can be found co-planted in Rafa's sortes.
Rafael Palacios is the brother of one of Spain's leading winemakers, Alvaro Palacios. It should come as no surprise that the family genius, enthusiasm and attention to detail is also evidenced in Rafael's wines. Whereas the Palacios family made its name Rioja, and Alvaro has subsequently achieved world-wide recognition for his vineyards in the appellation of Priorat and (latterly) Bierzo, Rafael has headed to the green north-west Atlantic-influenced vines of the DO of Valdeorras, which is located windward of Rueda, not too far to the north of the Portuguese border and the River Mino. The jewel here is the white variety Godello, which is now achieving recognition similar to that latterly afforded to Albarino and Verdejo. Sandy soils with granite substratum allied to historical terraced vineyards add up to hard work, small yields and a concomitant high level of quality. Rafa works with over 20 tiny parcels scattered around the region, with vines ranging up to almost 100 years in age. He currently makes two wines: Louro do Bolo, his lighter, entry-level expression, and As Sortes, which offers a step up in quality. Both are blindingly delicious, textural whites.
Wine Advocate 92pts (2017) - The entry-level 2017 Louro was cropped from an unusual year marked by frost that reduced the crop by some 40%. It's a blend of Godello with around 8% Treixadura with good ripeness, concentration, power and acidity, managing a considerable alcoholic degree with low pH and notable acidity. It fermented in 3,000-liter oak foudres, where it was kept with the fine lees for four months. This is a great wine, perhaps not as long lived as As Sortes, because the vineyards are not as high in altitude and have a little more clay in the soils. It's a little more varietal in character but also marked by the soils, especially on the finish. It's very expressive early on. It's not a banal wine—it's serious, clean, balanced and concentrated, ripe without excess, expressive, aromatic and open. It has intense, pungent flavors with a saline, tasty twist I often find in wines from granite. It combines power with balance. This overdelivers for its price.
JancisRobinson.com 17pts (2017) - Bright pale gold. Such freshness and direction and a minerally spine. This second (or third?) wine is as good as the first few vintages of Rafael Palacios’ ‘As Sortes’! VGV