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Alvaro acquired his first vineyard, Finca Dofí, in 1990. Then, in 1993, he located what is now regarded as the crown jewel property in Priorat, a precipitous, northeast-facing Garnacha vineyard on well-drained schist that had been planted between 1900 and 1940. Alvaro named it L’Ermita for a small chapel, or hermitage, that sits atop the hill.
In 1995, the flow of critical praise for Alvaro’s L’Ermita began, and it hasn’t stopped. But Alvaro remained haunted by another remote area of great potential: Bierzo, in far Northwestern Spain. Bierzo, too, had all the ingredients to make great wine: incredibly steep hillside vineyards; distinctive terroirs; and, most importantly, ancient vineyards of Mencía, a unique red grape believed brought by French pilgrims during the Middle Ages.