Alvaro Palacios 2020 Priorat Camins del Priorat this wine was a revelation for us. Typically were not a fans of the bigger reds from the Priorat region, but this is something special. Alvaro Palacios studied enology in Bordeaux while working with Jean-Pierre Moueix at Chateau Petrus. He is one of the most important figures in Priorat and, for 30 years, has applied his French learning to this Spanish Terroir that is often underrated. His wines are brilliant, stemming from clever use of some of the varietals that the Monks at one time used in the region while also being driven to make the best wines Priorat has to offer. These are extremely prized and also costly wines, 1his top wine goes for over $1000 a bottle, and even his mid-tier range is quite pricey. While searching for perfection in the region, Alvaro didn't want to be an unobtainable address. He realized that the education of the region and the quality that he helped raise it to would be promoted better if he had a wine that represented his vision and Priorat at a lower price. This is why he created the Camin del Priorat, to be able to share his incredible wines with a larger audience, and it does just that with astonishing poise and value. Produced from 8 different villages throughout Priorat, Camins del Priorat is a blend of 55% Garnacha, 15% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 8% Samsó (Carignan). As mentioned, we don't offer many wines from Priorat, but Alvaro has planted a seed to change our minds. 2020 was a wetter cooler vintage, so the wines show admirable restraint with aromas and red raspberry, mineral, cherry, underbrush spice, and a touch of earth. The palate is fresh and lively with excellent acidity and a dense fruit core yet very balanced with an incredibly long finish. You could compare this to Chateauneuf du Pape in terms of complexity, yet it is way more elegant and focused than most examples from CDP. In a word, lovely and approachable now over the next 5+ years. This is a complete eye-opener and the perfect wine to get acquainted with Priorat through the eyes of Alvaro Palacios.
Wine Advocate (Louis Gutierrez) 92 points! "The regional blend 2020 Camins del Priorat, produced with grapes from 101 plots from eight villages in Priorat, is a blend of 55% Garnacha, 15% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and 8% Cariñena, higher in Garnacha and lower in Cariñena, like in the majority of 2019s. That gives the wines freshness and elegance, vivacity and fluidity. It fermented with the indigenous yeasts in a combination of stainless steel, oak and concrete vats and matured in barrel and oak vats for four months. This is more Priorat than any of the vintages of Camins; in reality, nobody is planting French varieties anymore and many are regrafting their vines, so in the future, the tendency could be toward more Garnacha and Cariñena in this wine. This is a very drinkable version of Camins, less dense than the 2019, from a year that was cooler with just an herbal hint. The mouthfeel is velvety with great freshness and very fine tannins. This has to be the finest Camins to date, different from previous years; it should be a commercial success. 226,000 bottles were produced. 2020 was their earliest harvest ever."