91 points Decanter
From a rare, flat, southeast-facing vineyard site with deep soils, on the edge of the Camino de Santiago. ‘It’s very consistent, and can be fresh in hot years without producing raisined fruits,’ says Perez. The Mencia field blend is 100% whole-bunch fermented with a 90-day maceration, followed by a year in used oak. The palate is brisk, with ripe blackcurrant and a lively acidity, counterpointed by a saline note and a firm rasp of tannin. Overall it's dense and dark-hearted, more rustic in style. Drinking Window 2020 - 2025 (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 sheltered them 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.
La Vizcaína treasures the 'grand cru' of Bierzo, four parcels from the hillsides around his home of Vatuille de Abajo are predominantly Menica with a sprinkling of other local varieties. The oldest of these sites was planted in 1890, and the others aren't far behind. Unmissable unadulterated expressions of vineyards and place.