A unique conjunction of history, spirituality and emplacement exuded a powerful attraction over Ricardo Pérez and Alvaro Palacios. They arrived in Corullón in 1999, motivated by the idea of exploiting its wine-growing possibilities. Following the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, from the 11th century religious orders from all over Europe were established in the region. They brought with them a new type of vine of Atlantic stock, which some time later would be known as Mencía.The estate’s vineyards are located in the municipality of Corullón, in the mountains to the west of Bierzo: some 30 hectares covering a constellation of minute plots of old vines on steep, rocky slate soils.
Alvaro Palacios comes from a prestigious wine family, from La Rioja. He could have secured a prime position in the family winery, the world famous Palacios Remondo. However, being the dynamic visionary that he is, he decided to go out in the wine world and make his own way. He studied enology in Bordeaux and had the enviable job of working under Pomerol superstar Châteaus Pétrus winemaker Jean Pierre Moueix. When he returned to Spain, he founded his own winery in 1989 in the Mediterranean wine region of Priorat, south of Barcelona in Tarragona. Together with respected winemaker René Barbier and a few others, they ventured on what has been called the “Gratallops Project”, named after the scenic Priorat village where the wines are made. The group bought the vineyards together and shared vinification facilities until they each set up their own estates. His aim, it is widely said, was to make a wine somewhere in between Ch. Pétrus and Grange. That is a tough order to fill, but he has achieved phenomenal praise for his three wines, Finca Dofí, L’Ermita, and Les Terrasses. Alvaro, along with Peter Sisseck at Pingus in Ribera del Duero and Telmo Rodriguez in Toro wines, is considered to be the “new generation” of Spanish winemakers. His wines have won him cult status, and are absolutely salivated about in the wine mags. John Radford, the Spanish wine specialist, says: “To sum up: Les Terrasses is excellent, Finca Dofí is outstanding and L’Ermita is unbelievable”.