Rafael Palacios Sorte Antiga 2020 (1x75cl)Rafael Palacios
"The 2020 Sorte Antiga is only the third vintage of this skin-contact white from an old plot of Godello planted in 1920. It fermented with skins in a 1,500-liter oak vat for 30 days and matured with lees in used 500-liter French oak barrels for nine months, which is a shorter élevage than the 2019. Surprisingly enough, this is lower in alcohol than the equivalent 2019 and the lowest of all the 2019 and 2020 wines. It also has a low pH and high acidity. It feels fresher and more elegant than the 2019, lighter on its feet and more nuanced with beautiful aromatics of wild herbs. The effect of the skins is even subtler. This is their oldest vineyard, and they have managed to extract the nuance of the grapes through the fermentation with the skins, something they have improved each vintage. Godello can be very vegetal and unripe, so the challenge to make a skin-contact white is high. The palate here is vibrant and refreshing. This is very elegant, lightyears from the rusticity of many skin-contact whites. The higher altitude and the older vines made for a superb wine in 2020 here. This is also young but approachable, a skin-contact white that keeps its identity. 890 bottles were filled in July 2021." - Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (Feb 2022)
About Rafael Palacios
Considered by many to be the finest white wine producer in Spain, Rafael Palacios exclusively produces white wine from the Godello grape variety (along with miniscule amounts of Treixadura which are mixed amongst some of the old vine parcels) in the small town of O Bolo in Valdeorras, Galicia. Originally from Rioja, Rafa’s family owns the renowned Palacios Remondo winery, and his brother is one of Spain’s most famous vingernons, Alvaro Palacios. After studying oenology in Bordeaux, Rafa returned to the family winery and produced their first white wine. However, he fell in love with Godello and the region of Valdeorras and founded his eponymous winery in 2004.
Rafa farms 24 hectares of vines in the village of O Bolo, which sits in the far western part of Valdeorras where the soils are comprised of sandy decomposed granite. Rafa’s vineyards are at high elevation (620-740 meters) and are terraced due to the steeply sloping hillsides of the Bibei Valley. Viticulture is all done manually and by horse, with organic and biodynamic practices employed.
Louro do Bolo is essentially Rafa’s ‘village’ wine, from vines with an average age of 25 years. It is fermented with ambient yeasts in large oak foudre before spending 4 months on its lees in the same oak casks. This is an impressively concentrated and complex wine for the price. The 2022 vintage combines perfect ripeness alongside electric acidity with the granitic soils providing intensity and vibrancy. Minerals, citrus, nectarine, and a lovely saline note frame the long, textured finish. This is always a huge favourite when we’re lucky to have it.
We also have a few bottles each of Rafa’s tiny production Sorte Antiga 2020 and 2021. Sorte Antiga is a single parcel (sorte) of 100+ year-old ungrafted bush vines, which result in incredibly low yields and wonderfully complex wines.