Tue 03 Jun 2014

Bodegas Palacio Celebrates 120 Years


1894 was an interesting year.

Frenchman Martial Bourdin tried to blow up the Greenwich observatory, Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer opened a little store in Manchester that bore their surnames, Tower Bridge was opened to traffic and Blackpool Tower to tourists, and Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle released The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (though he would drag his heels for a further 16 years before becoming a Wine Society member).

s RiojaMeanwhile, in the Laguardia sub region of Rioja Alavesa, Don Cosme Palacio y Bermejillo quietly founded what is today one of the oldest wineries in Rioja, Bodega Palacio; producer of The Society’s Rioja and Glorioso Crianza Rioja.

Surviving along the way the arrival of the vine-destroying phylloxera louse, two world wars and a civil war, not to mention nearly 40 years under Franco’s dictatorship, Bodega Palacio has played a key role in development of winemaking in the area.

Don Cosme’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident in his pioneering approach to making wine.
He was key in the introduction of ageing wines in oak barrels and a keen exponent of winemaking techniques from Bordeaux.

He was also a strong believer that each wine should speak of where they are from and be a true expression of their own personality. Despite the Bodega changing hands a few times in the last 120 years, the desire to keep with Don Cosme’s belief of creating wines that are true to themselves has stuck fast and is still very much in evidence today.

Bodegas Palacio

Each year Pierre Mansour, the Society’s buyer for Spain, carries out an intensive tasting session with Roberto Rodriguez, Palacio’s current, internationally renowned winemaker, selecting and finalising the wines that will make up the blend for what is currently The Society’s top-selling red wine: The Society’s Rioja.

Glorioso RiojaThere are plenty of ingredients to choose from. The bodega, via its network of long-term growers, has access to over 255ha of vineyards which provide the fruit for its annual production of 3.5 million bottles, and has the capacity to hold a staggering 13,000 barrels.

The Glorioso Rioja label was born in 1928 and makes for an interesting contrast when compared with The Society’s Rioja. The latter is more traditional in style, made with multiple rackings (the process of moving the wine from one barrel – in this case American oak – to another to allow contact with oxygen) to impart lovely aromas of leather and vanilla, and to soften the tannins.

Glorioso, however, is made in a brighter and more fruit-driven and lively style, raised only in French oak barrels, which impart a less pronounced direct oak influence but which instead lend a velvety texture and a subtle lick of spice.

This year, Bodega Palacio are celebrating their 120th anniversary and have provided us with some photographs which show the fascinating evolution of the bodega and while Don Cosme’s original winery, a handsome building of traditional local stonework, is now a small hotel located next to the newer, more modern winery, his ethos and beliefs still stand firm today.

Gareth Park
Marketing Campaign Manager for Spain

Categories : Spain


  1. Peter Sheehan says:

    Most interesting, gets one thinking its time to buy some Society Rioja.

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