Rafael Palacios Louro Do Bolo Godello 2019
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.
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I had already tasted the 2019 Louro, but I tasted it again next to the other wines from 2019 and the whole 2020 vintage for context. It has to be the finest Louro to date, from one of the finest vintages for Palacios. It fermented in 3,500-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured with lees for four months. It's not a shy white at 14% alcohol, but the low pH (3.19) and high acidity (6.75 grams of tartaric acid per liter) mean a lot of freshness and therefore good balance. This always has a small percentage of Treixadura, around 4% this year, and in 2019, Treixadura reached 14% alcohol. Treixadura is a very aromatic and balsamic grape, and that small percentage is clearly noticeable in the aromatics, which gives Louro a very different profile from AS Sortes, more herbal and balsamic. The wine shows the freshness from the year and a salty finish coupled with the electricity from the granite. Delicious. It's evolving very slowly. 180,000 bottles produced. It was bottled during April and May 2020.
Rafael Palacios began his wine project in Valdeorras in 2004, purchasing mature vineyards of the indigenous Godello variety from older local growers. His previous experience in the area as a consultant had motivated him to try and recuperate the unique sub-zone of the Bibei Valley in the Municipality of O Bolo.
The extreme topography and the low productivity of the soil had led to the almost complete abandonment of grape production in this tiny but historic county, cultivated traditionally on terraces. The predominance of small plots is the result of inheritances drawn by lot, often out of a hat, called "Sorte" in the Galician language and the inspiration for the name As Sortes.
Godello is native to northwest Spain and has experienced a major revival in the last 20 years. Godello wines are typically sleek and lightly creamy in texture. Barrel fermentation and lees stirring are typical in Valdeorras, Spain where the grape comes from. These winemaking techniques make the most of Godello's inherent structure and help bring out its lovely floral character. Somm Secret—DNA profiling says that Spain’s Godello is actually identical to the Portugese grape variety Gouveio, which grows throughout the Douro and Dão (where it used to mistakenly be called Verdelho).