2019 As Sortes 98pts
Valdeorras, Gallicia, Spain
$59.99, net - US Low
Vine Age: 40-90+ years of age
Site/Elevation: Granite steep slopes, some terracing, rugged and hard rock at 680-740 meters (2,200-2,400 ft)
Soils: Granite, decomposed sandy granitic
Viticulture: Certified organic and in conversion to biodynamic (Demeter)
Aging: 7-8 months in 500L French oak barrels (20% new)
98 pts Decanter (Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW)
Sampled from vat, this is one of the best As Sortes I have ever tasted, comparable to the iconic 2011. It's a prodigy of subtlety and elegance. Restrained aromas, with a steely structure like a great Burgundy, but with flinty acidity almost like a Grosse Gewõchs from Rheingau. No oak influence, just an indication that the wine had been aged. Rafael Palacios is refining his work year after year, reaching the magic of the greatest wines. A top wine and one to keep.
For Comparison, here are a few vintages in review as these seem to be the closest in vintage weather conditions:
95 pts Robert Parker Wine Advocate (2016)
2016 was a slow-ripening year with a dry harvest that allowed for perfectly ripe grapes while maintaining very good levels of freshness. It fermented and matured in 500-liter oak barrels for some six to seven months. This has to be the finest vintage for As Sortes, and they seem to have been on a roll since 2012. The growing cycle was almost perfect and allowed for perfect ripeness of the grapes, which were harvested in the second half of October, very late (they finished on the 4th of November). The grapes achieved full flavors through slow ripening and kept the acidity. It has a sense of balance and symmetry with great precision and purity. There are subtle aromas of apricots and yellow plums and a twist of aromatic herbs intermixed with notes of wet granite. The palate has great intensity of flavors and is superbly balanced, long and tasty, with the signature saltiness on the finish.
94 pts Robert Parker Wine Advocate (2014)
The 2014 As Sortes blends Godello grapes from seven plots planted with old vines ranging from 40 to 96 years of age. The 2014s have a good combination of low pH and ripeness, so they should age beautifully. The must fermented in 500-liter French oak barrels with indigenous yeasts and matured in contact with the fine lees for some six months. It's still very young, a little creamy from its upbringing, and it will be much better with one more year in bottle. Palacios tells me the weather conditions were somehow similar to 2011 with some rains before the harvest and a soft summer that allowed for a slow, perfect ripening of the grapes while keeping very good levels of acidity. That really shows in the wine, which has great precision, lace-like, very focused, with deep flavors and pungent, sharp acidity and minerality. It has a great combination of power and elegance. This should be a long lived As Sortes.