Bodegas Palacio Glorioso Rioja Reserva 1970 (3177)

Bodegas Palacio Glorioso Rioja Reserva 1970 (3177)


This is one of the most pivotal bodegas in the Rioja Alta, partly because it was conceived at a time when the Rioja business was having a really difficult time and partly because, although it went through a period of heavyweight corporate ownership, it never lost its commitment to quality and individuality in its wines.


The whole thing began in 1894, with Cosme Palacio y Bermejillo. He was a successful businessman and politician in Bilbao who had studied at the wine school in Montpellier, and he was one of the “second wave” of pioneers to build a bodega in Rioja. Cosme’s father, Ángel, had had interests in the Rioja wine business since 1863, just after Marqués de Riscal had completed the first purpose-built bodega in the region, and before Marques de Murrieta had bought his estate at Ygay. Cosme had owned vineyards in the area since 1890. The original bodega was started by Ángel and completed by his sons Cosme and Manuel in time for then 1894 vintage.


This was not a good time in Rioja: no sooner had Cosme established his business than the phylloxera louse appeared and proceeded to decimate the vineyards. Some bodegas laid down and died, others fought the plague with every new idea at their disposal. Cosme’s reaction was atypical: he simply moved his operation to Valladolid in Castile-León (where phylloxera would not strike for several years more), rented a bodega, and hired a promising young winemaker by the name of Txomin Garramiola to make a wine in the Rioja style, until he could return to Rioja. Txomin went on to make a wine called Vega Sicilia in 1915, and the region beame the DO Ribera del Duero in 1982 – but that, too, is a story which must wait for a future book on the wines of Castile-León.


The Palacio family continued to build a reputation for quality wines and, indeed, for concentrated grape juice that was a boom product after World War II in the war-torn parts of north and central Europe, where food was scarce and nutrition an urgent need.

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