Raúl Pérez 'Ultreia el Rapolao' 2017

Raúl Pérez 'Ultreia el Rapolao' 2017

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Born into a Galician winemaking dynasty, Raúl Pérez honed his craft at Bodegas Castro Ventosa in Bierzo, where generations of his family have tended vines since the 1750s. Armed with a deep knowledge of both the local terroir and the Mencía grape variety, Pérez struck out alone to make wines under his own name in 2005.

For his La Vizcaína project, Raúl explores old, organically-farmed Meńcia vineyards (frequently co-planted with other red and white indigenous varieties) around the Bierzo village of Valtuille de Abajo. By harvesting early and employing long, slow macerations in open-top barrels, he crafts spicy, whole-bunch reds from individual vineyard sites.

From west-facing vines at the foot of the valley, ‘Las Gundiñas’ is one of Raúl’s best value single-parcel cuvées and combines a deep core of forest fruits with smoky mineral accents. ‘Ultreia el Rapolao’ – a steep slope of 120-year-old vines recently reclaimed after being lost during the Spanish Civil War – is Raúl’s ‘Grand Cru’, ultra-expressive with suave tannins. Just 1,200 bottles are made each year.

Buoyed by his successes in Bierzo, Raúl now tends plots for projects across Rías Baixas, Tierra de León, and Ribeira Sacra in north-west Spain. From an enclosed parcel of Mencía planted in 1950 in Ribeira Sacra’s Chantada, which Raúl farms with his close friend Rodrigo Méndez, ‘A Boca Do Demo’ bursts with energy, its red and black fruit tinged with graphite and earth.

Now drinking beautifully, this small parcel of Raúl’s critically acclaimed 2017s illustrates why Mencía is enjoying a long-overdue surge in interest and why these bottles can be counted among the best of new-wave Spain.

“Expressive red and blue fruit, floral oil, and exotic spice scents. Smooth and fleshy, showing excellent clarity and spicy lift. Impressively long.” 94 Points, Vinous

Wine Details

Type Red
Country Spain
Region Bierzo
Producer Raúl Pérez
Vintage 2017
Grape Varieties Mencía, Various
Farming Organic
Bottle Size 75.0cl