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Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2017

Alvaro Palacios Finca Dofi 2017

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"The single-vineyard 2017 Finca Dofí comes from ten hectares that were planted 20 years ago in the village of Gratallops. It's mostly Garnacha with 8% Cariñena and 1% white grapes that fermented after being destemmed and lightly crushed in oak vats with indigenous yeasts. It matured in large oak barrels (bocoyes and foudres) for 16 months. There is no trace of oak in the wines, and there are no edges; they all feel sleek and elegant. This Dofí expresses the Mediterranean vintage from this vineyard at 300 to 320 meters in altitude, where the slate has a lot of iron, which turns the soils red and makes round and velvety wines, with flavors of red cherries, cherry pit, nectarines and even blood orange. The warm soils are compensated by mostly northern exposures. The palate has volume and is juicy, sensual and velvety, with some fine-grained tannins that currently call for food. It makes for a very gastronomical red. 29,700 bottles produced. It was bottled in April 2019. In 2018, there will be a separate bottling from one hectare of pure north-exposition grapes from Dofí, a new wine called La Baixada. Drink: 2019-2027. 95 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)