ALVARO PALACIOS makes world-class wines in three historic Spanish regions: Rioja, Priorat and Bierzo. He was born with winemaking in his blood – his family owned the prestigious Bodegas Palacios Remondo in Rioja, which was founded in 1945. The seventh of nine children, Alvaro had a secure place in his families business, but he had his own vision and wanted to make his own stamp on the world of wine. He studied oenology at the University of Bordeaux, and worked at the illustrious Chateau Pétrus for two years before founding his own winery, Finca Dofí in Priorat in 1989, where the vineyards were developed by Carthusian monks in the 12th century. Garnacha and Carineña are planted on llicorella, the unique slate-quartz soils of the area, on dizzyingly steep terraced slopes. It is in this spectacularly rugged Catalan wine region that Alvaro creates the most expensive wine in Spain – the iconic L'Ermita. In 1999 Alvaro spread his wings to Bierzo, where the Camino de Santiago wends its pilgrims' way between the mountains and the valleys. Here 45 hectares of vineyards spread over 220 plots are cultivated with old Mencía vines on the vertiginous slopes of Corullón, on slate soils. This is a joint venture with his nephew Ricardo Perez, fittingly called Descendientes de J Palacios. Following his father's death in 2000, Alvaro returned to the family estate in Rioja, which is located in Rioja Oriental. This is the easternmost zone of the Rioja DOC appellations, and it is also the driest, windiest, warmest and most Mediterranean. Here they focus on the production of Garnacha, grown on organic vineyards on the hillsides of Monte Yerga. It is also here where Alvaro makes the only white wine in his entire portfolio, made from 100% Viura. Alvaro was hugely influential in introducing the Burgundian terroir concepts of “Villages” and “Cru” to the Priorat area, and can truly be said to be one Spain's most significant producers. His wines have earned him cult status and are amongst the most sought after in the world.