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Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2018

Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2018

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"The regional red blend 2018 Camins del Priorat was produced with grapes from 101 plots from eight villages in Priorat and wants to represent the overall character of the zone. It's a blend of 35% Garnacha, 20% Cariñena, 20% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that fermented in a combination of stainless steel and oak vats and matured in barrique and oak vats for four to six months. It's young and fruit-driven with some herbal hints from the French grapes, which were picked early, intermixed with licorice and fennel. It's nicely textured, happy and fresh, juicy, clean and with no noticeable oak. It has a modern and clean profile. The tannins are soft and round. It's like a more concentrated version of 2016 and 2014, both cool years. Easy to drink and very pleasant. Drink: 2019-2023. 91 points

Álvaro Palacios has to be one of the largest producers in Priorat as well as one of the quality leaders of the appellation, a combination of quality and quantity that is unusual in most parts of the country. It's one of the reasons why the Priorat appellation is a leader in defining a hierarchy of its wines through the origin—regional, specific village or part of it (paraje or lieu-dit) and single vineyard. Annual output is 400,000 bottles.

2017 and 2018 are almost opposites as far as the weather is concerned: 2017 was warm and dry, and 2018 was milder and wetter. I tasted mostly 2017s, and only the entry-level Camins del Priorat was from 2018. 2017 was the earliest harvest in recent times, and the French grapes were picked in late August. However, the 2017s felt fresh and quite elegant and didn't show any heat; they felt elegant but Mediterranean at heart. I found the collection to be phenomenal, very much transcending the vintage."

Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate (244)