Rafael Palacios began his new wine project in Valdeorras in 2004, purchasing old Godello vineyards from old local growers. Godello is the indigenous white grape variety of the Valdeorras region. Rafael’s previous experience as a consultant in the region had motivated him to buy and restore old vineyards in the unique Bibei Valley, in the municipality of O Bolo.
The very rigid topography and low fertility of the soil had led to the almost complete abandonment of the terraced vineyards in this tiny but historically important county, and the predominance of small plot vineyards was the result of inheritances drawn by lot, often out of a hat, called “Sorte” in Galician. This old tradition became the inspiration for the name of Rafael Palacios’s top wine “As Sortes”.
The vineyards are located in the western part of the Valdeorras region, on the right bank of the Bibei River at altitudes between 600 and 720 meters. The sandy soils are very distinct, and were developed through the degradation of the granite substratum. The result is a low-fertile, acidic soil prone to erosion.
The 21 hectares of vineyards currently owned by the winery consist of twenty six different parcels, all of them planted with the native white Godello grape, the vines between 6 and 90 years old.
Since the vines are cultivated on terraced slopes supported by fragile granite walls, the work in the vineyard requires the use of specially adapted light-weight machinery. At the same time, Rafael Palacios wishes to avoid any use of herbicides, meaning he has no other choice than to go back to the traditional viticultural methods once used in the region. In doing so, he is respecting the structure of the historical landscape in the Bibei Valley.
Rafael Palacios personally controls every step of the wine-making process, driven by a high respect for the unique character of the land he works on and the desire to achieve the purest expression of terroir in his wines.
Bodega: RAFAEL PALACIOS S.L.
Winemaker: Rafael Palacios & Cecilia Fernández
Viticulturists: Rafael Palacios & Manuel Blanco
Foundation of the Bodega: June, 2004
Origin: From our own vineyards and from controlled local
Municipality: O Bolo
Area: Valle del Bibei (D.O. Valdeorras)
Soils: Heavy sands originating from degraded granite
Topography: Terraces and lightly sloped hill sides
Orientation: South-east tot south-west, depending on the slope
Altitude: 600 metres minimum
Climate: Continental but with Atlantic influences
Grape varieties: 92% Godello, 8% Treixadura
Vine age: 14-21 years
Pruning: Cordon de Royat and Gobelet (“en vaso”)
Cultivation: With light machines adapted to the delicate structure
of the terraces
Irrigation: Dry-farmed, no irrigation
Yield: 35 hl/ha
Harvest: Selection by parcel and by orientation
Date of harvest: September 23 – October 12
Vinification: Alcoholic fermentation in French oak foudres (3.000
liters) from Normandy forests
Maturation: 5 months in foudres