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As quaffable and enjoyable as Godello can be from Valdeorras, it rarely reaches the level of richness, balance, and complexity as it does in Rafael Palacios’s hands. Having left his family’s estate in Rioja in 2004, Rafa settled in the Val do Bibei, a rugged and off-the-beaten-path sub-zone of Valdeorras. The Val do Bibei is a tortured landscape of granitic, terraced slopes dotted with hard-to-reach and hard-to-farm vineyard plots. Rafa works exclusively with Godello planted on granitic soils at much higher elevations – so high that late Spring snow and frost are ever-present dangers to his already low yields. Rafa works 32 plots , known locally as Sorte, by hand where some of the oldest vines are nearing a century in age.
"The 2022 As Sortes feels very young and a little raw and undeveloped, with great freshness. Despite being a very warm summer, they had rain (20+ liters) that was absorbed by the grapes, which made a delicate wine, much fresher than expected. Of course, the high altitude of the vines and the late ripeness and harvest here also have to do with the fresh character of the wine, which transcends the character of the year. I'd wait a little to pull the cork." - Luis Gutierrez, Wine Advocate 95+ points