WHY WE LOVE IT
  • BLEND
    Mencia-based blend
  • APPELLATION
    Castilla Y Leon
  • ALCOHOL
    14.50%
  • SIZE
    750ml

96pts Decanter: This is the most important area of Bierzo today – it represents the future,' says Perez. And particularly so in terms of the new ‘Burgundian’ organisation of the DO, for in the 4ha of this north-facing vineyard there are 24 plots worked by eight different growers – including the Michelinis from Argentina and local producer, Cesar Marquez. ‘People thought it was the cheapest vineyard, but today it’s impossible to buy.’ Perez produces a Mencia blend from these clay soils, which have a high percentage of organic matter. It spends two months on skins, and is aged in 500-700-litre barrels. Typical production is only 900 bottles. It has a refined aroma of woodsmoke and a delicate palate with vibrant fruit, followed by a long, profound mineral finish. Drinking Window 2019.

95pts Wine Advocate: The cool and elegant character of the El Rapolao plot seems to have been amplified by the weather conditions in the 2016 La Vizcaína El Rapolao. Pérez does not own all the vineyards, so sourcing can sometimes vary within the same vineyard, and since 2016 it comes from two old plots where the Mencía is mixed with other varieties; the wine seems to have gained in depth and complexity as a result. In 2016 he did a slightly shorter maceration and matured the wine in 500-liter oak barrels for a little over 12 months. The vineyard yields well, and the wine is always expressive, balanced and elegant. It seems like slightly higher yields suit it better, and the wines have good tension and an herbal twist that adds to the complexity and freshness. 5,000 bottles produced.

La Vizcaína is a relatively new project from Raúl Pérez that explores the hillside crus around his hometown of Vatuille de Abajo. Four reds and one white are produced under the name, all from vines with over fifty years of average age. Though all the red wines Raúl produces in the Bierzo D.O. are labelled as 100% Mencía, they all in fact contain significant quantities of other local grapes. The rich varietal diversity found in Galicia is due in large part to the famous Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James in the town of Santiago de Compostela, the earliest references to which date back to the 9th century. The monks who made the journey would often carry vine cuttings from their home regions in their packs to offer as gifts to the Spanish monasteries that would put them up along the way.