If anyone embodies the promise and spirit of “The New Spain,” its Alvaro Palacios. His L’Ermita is widely considered—along with Peter Sisseck’s Dominio de Pingus—to be the most important new Spanish wine of the modern era

One of nine children born to the owners of Riojas respected Palacios Remondo, Alvaro studied enology in Bordeaux, while working under Jean-Pierre Moueix at Ch. Pétrus. He credits his tenure at Pétrus for much of his winemaking philosophy and for showing him the importance of great wines.

Alvaro could have returned to the security of his familys domaine. But instead, he was drawn to the remote and seductive Priorat, 60 miles from Barcelona, which had been one of Spains important pre-Phylloxera wine regions. With its unique terroir of steep hills and terraces Alvaro believed that here he could make a wine that evoked both Pétrus and Grange.

He acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofí, in 1990. Then, in 1993, he located what is now regarded as the crown jewel property in Priorat, a precipitous, northeast-facing Garnacha vineyard on well-drained schist that had been planted between 1900 and 1940. Alvaro named it for a small chapel, or hermitage, that sits atop the hill.

In 1995, the flow of critical praise for Alvaros LErmita began, and it hasnt stopped. But while LErmita has received most of the attention, Alvaro produces several other wines compelling in their own rights: Finca Dofí and Les Terrasses.

Finca Dofí

From Alvaros original vineyard, Finca Dofí is a blend of Garnacha, Cabernet, and Syrah. Like LErmita, Dofí combines power and richness with great breed and finesse. In most Priorat tastings that do not include LErmita, Dofí is the clear winner.


Alvaro has been instrumental in introducing the Burgundian ideas of Villages and Cru to Priorat. In 2006, he began to elaborate separately a collection of old vineyards from throughout the township of Gratallops to extend and commercialize this idea.

Les Terrasses Velles Vignes”

While originally conceived of as a value wine, Les Terrasses “Velles Vignes” has slowly evolved into the essence of what makes Priorat special. Drawing on 15+ years of study, Terrasses is sourced from many of the regions steepest and oldest vineyards—many of them north—facing to avoid the intense afternoon sun. With the 2007 vintage, Alvaro acknowledged Les Terrasses graduation by adding the “Velles Vignes” designation to the label.

The evolving seriousness of Terrasses eventually left room for a new wine, Camins del Priorat. Alvaro had never wanted to be known solely for expensive trophy wines, and with Camins, he found the opportunity to create something special. Drawing on his wealth of vineyard sources, Alvaro is aiming to produce a wine that is affordably priced, but which also stays true to his vision of Priorat—powerful but elegant, approachable but restrained.

Technical Information


Established: 1989
Les Terrasses debut: 1990
Finca Dofi debut: 1989 (no 1991)
L’Ermita debut: 1993
Proprietor & Winemaker: Alvaro Palacios


The L’Ermita, Finca Dofi, and Gratallops vineyards are planted on steep slopes around the village of Gratallops.

Soils: Broken, open soils comprised of the famed “Llicorella” slate.
Appellation: DOC Priorat
Elevation: 250 to 600 meters above sea level
Harvest: by hand 


  • No filtration, except for Camins which gets a light filtration when needed
  • L’Ermita destemmed by hand.
  • Maceration (typical): L’Ermita & Finca Dofi – 40-45 days, Gratallops – 40 days, Les Terrasses & Camins – 30 days Fermentation: L’Ermita and Finca Dofi fermented in oak vats with regular punch down of the caps. Les Terrasses and Camins are fermented in a mix of stainless, cement, and open-top wooden vats with punching-down and/or pumpover. Malolactic
  • Fermentation: 100% in barrel for L’Ermita, Finca Dofi, and Gratallops. A mix of wooden vats and smaller barrels are used for Terrasses, and Camins passes Malo in large wooden vats.
  • Biodynamic viticulture for Dofi & L’Ermita 


  Fruit Source Avg Yields Blend Oak Aging Avg Prod


A dramatically steep 1.45-hectare northeast-facing vineyard, with 85-105-yearold head-pruned vines.

10 hl/ha

90% Garnacha, with 8% Samsó and 2% white grapes.

100% new French barrique

120 cases

Finca Dofi

Three contiguous historical plots – Camp de Piqué, La Baixada, and Coll de Falset – spread over 10 ha on the ridge south from Gratallops.

14.5 hL/hA

95% Garnacha and 5% Samsó.

100% new French barrels.

1200 cases

Gratallops Vi de Vila

Estate vineyards in Gratallops.

14.5 hL/hA

85% Garnacha and 15% Samsó.

15 months in new large French barrels.

600 cases

Les Terrasses “Velles Vinyes”

Over 100 small parcels in nine different villages throughout Priorat.

18 hL/hA

60% Garnacha, 40% Samsó

10 months in French barrels (20% new).

12,000 cases

Camins del Priorat

Produced from eight different villages throughout Priorat.

25 hL/hA

40% Garnacha, 20% Samsó, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, plus others

4-6 months in used barrels and vats.

20,000 cases


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Wine barrels in a cellar

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