• Alvaro Palacios and his nephew and partner Ricardo in the vineyard of Las Lamas.

The wines of Rioja and Palacios Remondo

Rioja is most popular and well recognised Spanish region, the world over. Rioja is located north of Madrid and is centred around the town of Logroño.

The wines of the Rioja DO are produced mainly from Grenache and Tempranillo. Some Rioja will be labelled Cosecha, Crianza, Riserva or Gran Riserva; each classification referring to the time the wine has spent in oak and the ageing in the cellars before release. To have these classifications appear on the label, the requirements set by the DO must be adhered to. Increasingly, there are wines produced that don’t have these classifications on them, the winemakers preferring instead to make the best wine possible - giving the fruit the oak required and the wine the time necessary in the cellar, rather than adhering to the regulations. Confusing? Not really, it just means that relying on these classifications for quality is not the best approach to purchasing. It’s better to work out which producers style you prefer and purchase that way.

Palacios Remondo is located in the village of Alfaro in the Rioja region of Spain. Established in 1945, it’s only recently that things have changed for the better at Palacios Remondo. Alvaro Palacios left his family company in Alfaro to work at various wineries abroad, including France – working at the famous Bordeaux winery Château Pétrus. Alvaro then returned to Palacios Remondo and took over his family winery. He brought back with him new wine making techniques that saw his family winery very quickly rise to be among the top producers in Rioja.

The Rioja wine region in Spain is divided into three sections;
Rioja Alta – to the left of the river, there are 20,500 ha of vines planted in this area; the wines from here are suited for the cellar.
Rioja Alavesa – to the right of the river, 11,500 ha of vines are planted; wines in this area are both young wines and wines for the cellar.
Rioja Baja – with 18,000 ha of vines planted, Rioja Baja is about an hour from the other two regions of the Rioja; in this area, great whites as well as exceptional reds are produced.

Palacios Remondo is situated in Rioja Baja. When you visit a winery as an importer, the way they organise the visit always tells you a lot about the winery - whether they take you to the vines, the public relations centre, or to see the amount of money they have tied up in oak. When I arrived at Palacios Remondo, it had been raining for a few days. This did not deter the team at all from taking me to see the vineyards. We drove up a tiny clay track into the hills and spent most of the morning in the vineyards – the attention to detail and quality they are achieving in the vineyards is stunning. When you taste the wines, you will see that starting with top quality grapes is one of the most important aspects of wine making.

During May, all Glengarry stores have an extensive range of Spanish wines on promotion, including the wines of Palacios Remondo. www.glengarry.co.nz

By: , Wine with Liz Wheadon, Glengarry

Issue 87 May 2018