2004 A. Palacios "L'Ermita" Priorat

SKU #1273263 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 2004 was a superb vintage in Priorat and the three entries from Alvaro Palacios are stunning. The 2004 L’Ermita is harvested from a 5 acre parcel of 70-year-old head-pruned vines of which 85% is Grenache, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Carignan aged in 100% new French oak. The color is purple/black and the super-expressive nose offers toast, minerals, kirsch, and blackberry. The wine is full-bodied and seamless with complex flavors and the tannin totally concealed. The finish is very long and pure in this powerful yet elegant offering. It should drink splendidly for 15-20 years. (JSM)  (2/2007)

96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Ruby-red. Suave, understated aromas of cherry, redcurrant, licorice, minerals, fresh rose, violet and lavender. Taut, fresh and brisk, the bright red fruit flavors slowly deepening but retaining superb focus and clarity. Offers more nuance each time you come back to the glass, with complex fruit, floral and mineral components all there. I found it fascinating to watch this wine unfold. This is a bottle you'd want to share with just one or two others (or maybe just your own bad self), because it doesn't reveal itself in a two-ounce pour. (JR)  (9/2006)

94 points Wine Spectator

 Perfumed and delicate, yet deep and powerful. Floral and berry aromas give way to black cherry, mineral and cocoa flavors, and the texture is firm yet tender. This red shows a firm structure and excellent focus. Tight, so decant.  (8/2007)

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Price: $444.99

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- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.