93 points Decanter
A field blend of Mencia, Alicante Bouschet, Pan y Carne and some white varieties, fermented with natural yeast in old oak tanks using 100% stems and no temperature control. It undergoes malo in tank and then spends one year in old barrels. There's no remontage or pigeage, and he works without sulphites. This has bright, fresh blueberry and cranberry fruit with a rasp of tannin and a savoury, saline sign-off. Drinking Window 2020 - 2024 (SJE) (2/2019)
Raúl Pérez - an extraordinary force in the world of Spanish wine. His honest approach to reviving old-fashioned techniques and varieties has created a collective culture and, alongside his generous open-door policy, he has helped establish many of the terrior-focused producers in Spain today.
The varietal diversity of North-West Spain is due to the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route for many centuries. The monks who made this journey would often bring cuttings of vines from their homes, offering them as gifts to the monasteries who gave them shelter along the way. Mencia is the dominant varietal (and the one allowed by the DO) but it is common to find Palomino, Dona Blanca, Godello, Malvasía, Bastardo (Trousseau), Sousón, Alicante Bouschet, Brancellao and Caiño.
Raúl has a dizzying amount of collaborations and projects scattered throughout this corner of Spain, we are focusing on two from his home of Bierzo - Ultriea and La Vizcaína.
Ultreia is Raúl's most well-known collections, focused on the Bierzo region and there is a whole lot of wine for the price. His signature whole cluster ferments and long maceration (he considers 50 days to be short) give complexity to even the most youthful of his wines.