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Mais d’abord, il faut peut-être rappeler qu’El Bierzo est une des premières appellations d’Espagne à s’être dotée d’un cahier des charges tout à fait moderne. Cela signifie qu’à partir du millésime 2017, des vins peuvent être mis sur le marché comme «vin de village», à condition que tous les raisins soient issus de parcelles d’un même village. Ensuite, différents crus ont été définis. Dans la plupart des domaines, ces nouvelles règles étaient déjà d’application, en tout cas chez ceux que nous importons, vu qu’ils ont été à l’origine de la nouvelle réglementation. Dès le début, tous leurs vins portaient les noms de leurs parcelles.

Aujourd’hui, certaines parcelles, comme Rapolao sont divisées entre plusieurs propriétaires, aussi peut-on trouver plusieurs cuvées “Rapolao” (dont trois 3 chez nous !). C’est tout à fait la philosophie bourguignonne. En outre, nos domaines travaillent en bio ou biodynamie, avec éraflage partiel ou pas d’éraflage du tout. Une vinification à l’ancienne, donc, mais avec, derrière, toute la science nécessaire pour effectuer les analyses.

Et voici à présent les commentaires publiés à propos de ces 2018.
Raúl Pérez has finished his new winery for his Ultreia St Jacques, and he vinified the 2019 there already. For the whites, they are moving toward 2,500-liter oak foudres, slowly leaving from smaller oak containers, and they are doing something similar with the reds. 2017 was a weird vintage. As they saw the hot weather, they started harvesting on the 15th of August, earlier than ever, and thus avoided high alcohol, but the vegetative cycle was one month shorter. The wines are quite drinkable now, but the question mark is about the aging potential of the wines. The whites might be a little more tropical (not here), but they have low alcohol and were harvested at the right time. He cannot find a vintage to compare with 2018, perhaps 2001 and 2008, but he thinks 2018 is the most complete, with the harvesting dates of yesteryear and moderate alcohol. He thinks 2008 is similar, but the wines were hard and took time, while 2018 delivered wines that are harmonious and approachable early on. 2018 is the best vintage he has known in Bierzo. Full stop.


The vintage is often described as a return to "normal" conditions, which here means a moderately humid and mild spring, quite rainy toward the end, with drier and more Mediterranean conditions in July and August. There were 950 liters of total rainfall, and the temperatures were slightly lower than the average—they even had a snowy winter, something they had not seen in recent years—and the weather didn't turn until around the 10th of June, popularly known as the 40th of May, when summer conditions used to arrive in the past. This is the best collection they have produced since they set foot in Bierzo in 1999. And to understand my excitement, let me just summarize it as the best vintage ever for the most coherent, reliable and serious wine project in Spain. Simply breathtaking. Bravo!!

Castro Ventosa is the winery of Raúl Pérez's family. They are adapting to the new categories from the Bierzo appellation. They are focusing on their vineyards and regrafting some Merenzao now that is accepted by the DO. They are also turning their style toward more freshness in the wines, going for larger barrels; they have always had a very traditional profile. In the near future, there will be a new bottling from La Vitoriana, one of the most prestigious lieux-dits, from 2018. All of the 2018s have a lower alcoholic degree (all around 13.5%, when it was previously 14.5%) and feel very pure and clean, with better-integrated oak.


Castro Ventosa - Valtuille Godello 2018 93/100 41.84
The 2018 Valtuille Godello coms from a specific plot in the village of Valtuille that also contributes to the white El Castro de Valtuille; the wines share some of the same aromatic descriptors—balsamic, pollen, beeswax and camphor—but the nose here is more refined, subtler and finer. This is produced in larger barrels, and it is a barrel selection of the wine produced. It has a soft palate with a velvety texture, pungent flavors and a long finish. It has not been produced since 2014, because they didn't have enough grapes. In 2018, they had more plots for the other white and also resumed making this this wine, which was only produced in 2013 and 2014 before. 900 bottles were filled in November 2019.


Castro Ventosa - Valtuille vino de villa 2018 94/100 15.14
If the range was not wide and confusing enough, there is a new 2018 Valtuille Vino de Villa to fulfill the new official category of village wines in the DO Bierzo. It's a blend of different plots from the village, fermented separately, all old vines with a Mencía-based field blend that also contains some Garnacha Tintorera, Bastardo and even white varieties, mostly from the plots that are bottled separately. It fermented with 100% full clusters in 5,000-liter oak vat and matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for one year. This is serious, subtle and perfumed, refined, expressive and floral, with great finesse. It has a medium body with terrific balance and great freshness (some of the early harvested plots were part of the blend), purity and finesse that showcase the style of the year. The tannins are very fine and silky. This is a very impressive first effort. It feels like the blend of different places has given it an extra dimension. To give you an idea, all the 2018s have lower alcohol, and this is 13.4% alcohol with 6.11 grams of acidity (in tartaric). 4,900 bottles were filled in May 2020.

Castro Ventosa - Valtuille Cova de la Raposa 2018 94/100 34.75
2016 was a year of mildew, and 2017 suffered frost. So, most of the single-vineyard bottlings jump from 2015 to 2018. Such is the case with the 2018 Valtuille La Cova de la Raposa, even though this is one of their warmest and ripest vineyards, a pure south-facing plot that was picked early this year (despite always being the first to be harvested). Perhaps the other big change is that, starting with the 2018 vintage, this matured exclusively in 500-liter oak barrels (it was mostly 225-liter barriques in the past). The extra freshness of the vintage, the earlier harvest and the larger barrels delivered a fresher and lighter wine with lower alcohol, despite being the most exuberant wine, with raspberries rather than violets. This is medium-bodied on the palate and refined, with integrated oak and no heat, and it feels brighter, with more light and more fluid. This could very well be the most elegant La Cova de la Raposa produced to date. 1,300 bottles were filled in May 2020.

Castro Ventosa - Valtuille Villegas 2018 96/100 34.75
The 2018 Valtuille Villegas had not been produced since 2015 and there is a big jump in precision and freshness: it's not just three years, it's three years of fine-tuning the work in the vineyards and winery. It fermented in a 3,000-liter oak vat with 100% full clusters and matured in two 225-liter oak barrels and one 500-liter oak barrel. This is perfumed and gravitates more toward Burgundy; it's elegant and long, with "only" 12.8% alcohol. It has very polished tannins and the inherent elegance of the sandy soils. It's perhaps lighter and doesn't have the complexity of the Cepas Centenarias, but it's really impressive. A Villegas of finesse. 1,300 bottles were filled in May 2020.

Castro Ventosa - Valtuille Rapolao 2018 96+/100 37.54
The 2018 Valtuille El Rapolao, like the rest of the single-vineyard wines, has not been bottled separately since 2015. This comes from the coolest paraje of Valtuille, as it gets the sun for one full hour after the rest of vineyards of the village. This was harvested early and matured exclusively in 500-liter oak barrels; it has lower alcohol and is more elegant than the 2014 and 2015. This was a little closed at first and needed some time in the glass to open up. It's a more floral and refined version of Villegas, with more layers, more depth and complexity. There's no rusticity here, which was in the character of the 2014 and 2015. Impressive! 1,700 bottles were filled in May 2020.

Castro Ventosa - Valtuille Cepas Centenarias 2018 97+/100 31.75
The floral 2018 Valtuille Cepas Centenarias is the next vintage after the 2015, as no 2016 or 2017 could be produced. This has a Northern Rhône nose that mixes violets and smoked meat, very showy. The palate is seamless and refined, with very fine, silky tannins. Like many of their wines, 2018 could very well be the finest vintage of this wine to date. This has much lower alcohol (13.2%) and more acidity. In 2018, they used all the white grapes from one of the plots, which could be a significant 6% of white grapes, and also some 5% Merenzao, so the wine is somewhat more fluid and nuanced. The two plots used for this wine are in the paraje of Matalospardos in Valtuille. This is the most complete and complex of the 2018s. 3,500 bottles and 36 magnums were filled in early May 2020.

Descendientes de J. Palacios - Corullón 2018 96/100 31.75
The village wine 2018 Corullón has, for the first time, the new category Vino de Villa (village wine!). It comes from around 90 plots of their own vineyards. In the cooler and more Atlantic 2018, they had more rain than the previous two vintages and a lower average temperature, and they think it was excellent for their wines ("a modern version of 2001," Ricardo Pérez Palacios told me). There are around 8% white grapes here, and the wine fermented in oak vats with punching down, and the élevage was in a combination of barriques, bocoyes and foudres, oak containers of different sizes, and was short of 11 months. This is the modern version of 2001 and 2012, and in 2018, it has the part of Moncerbal (almost 40%) that was not in the 2017 (because of hail, the Moncerbal bottling was not produced in 2017), so it goes back to the classical style. There is terrific balance here, great purity, with the essence of slate; here, we move from the fruit of the Pétalos to the herbs. But there is complexity and nuance, violets, rockrose, sap, resin, fern, cinnamon and citrus, all very subtle and harmonious. The flavors have similar purity, and if these wines never have high acidity, there is great freshness, soft citrus, all very subtle and velvety. This is sooo easy to drink it could be dangerous... They produced 23,034 bottles and other formats, half-bottles, magnums, double magnums and jeroboams. It was bottled in January 2020.

Descendientes de J. Palacios - Las Lamas 2018 97+/100 82.63
I always like to compare the 2018 Las Lamas with the Moncerbal (and the others!) from the same vintage, as they are very close together and very similar, just a change in orientation, which, in this part of Bierzo, can mean huge differences. And it's often down to the harvest date, as the Mencía grape has a very short window of perfect ripening, and one day too early can be too early and one day too late ... well, too late! This comes from seven plots in the same place, the last one purchased in 2017 and totaling 2.13 hectares. They have requested the new classification of Gran Viña Clasificada in the new categories approved by the appellation Bierzo. This is a place with lots of light and a tendency toward intense ripeness, creating a more voluptuous wine. Besides Mencía, the vines have around 7% white grapes, mostly Jerez (Palomino) and 3% Alicante Bouschet or Garnacha Tintorera. They are in the process of certifying all their vineyards, and most probably the 2020 vintage will be able to carry the organic label. The natural fermentation was carried out in oak vats, and the maceration lasted 65 days. The élevage was in a combination of oak containers of different sizes and lasted for 11 months. This is a really impressive effort and showcases the generosity (in a Pomerol sense of the word) of this place; it's silky, elegant and tender but with more volume than the Moncerbal. I think this vintage is very transparent (or their interpretation has been), and each of the wines shows its personality, transcending the style of the year, like the year was more transparent. 3,097 bottles and some larger formats were filled in January 2020.

Descendientes de J. Palacios - Moncerbal 2018 98+/100 86.44
The 2018 Moncerbal, a "vino de paraje," was produced from different plots in the same zone of the village of Corullón. It comes from seven small parcels that make up 1.74 hectares of 60- to 90-year-old vines on a slope with a south-southwest orientation at altitudes from 610 to 730 meters. It fermented with stems (every year they use a variable percentage of stems, between 10% and 30%) and indigenous yeasts (a constant here) in oak vats with a 70-day maceration, and it matured in oak casks of different sizes for 10 months. The winery describes it as juicy and crystalline, with the energy of the quartz that is intermixed with the slate and marble soils. This is a stonier and more austere vintage, mineral and tasty, with terrific balance, great precision and symmetry, detailed and precise, very focused and incredibly tasty. Like many of its siblings, this 2018 could very well be the finest vintage to date. There's not a lot of acidity; there's not a lot of tannin; there's not a lot of anything, but it's all there, all in place, with impressive depth, nuance and complexity. This is going to be a classic Moncerbal for the long haul. 2,103 bottles and some other larger and smaller formats were filled in December 2019.

Descendientes de J. Palacios - La Faraona 2018 100/100 674.42
The often-mysterious and ever-changing 2018 La Faraona comes from the vineyard called El Ferro, a very special plot ("I personally prune each single vine from La Faraona," Ricardo once told me. "She's mine!") of only 0.55 hectares that probably has 8% white grapes of the Godello and Jerez varieties. The vines are 72 years old on a very steep southeast-facing slope at 800 to 860 meters in altitude, and there is a tectonic fault that crosses the land and brings an unusual combination of elements and very shallow soils with the mother rock barely 30 centimeters down. The partly destemmed grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts in an oak vat, and the wine matured in foudre and barrique for 12 months. The perfume coming out of the glass was simply mind-boggling, a subtle and complex combination of flowers, herbs and spices that had taken me to different places (often the Loire) in the past, but this time it took me to the green and humid slopes of the Bierzo, the wet soils and the Atlantic smell of the ferns and moss. This is the most Atlantic of the 2018s. It has freshness and lightness but also lots of energy and light. It has great purity, a very strong sense of place, and it encapsulates the humid slopes of Corullón like no other. This is nothing short of amazing. Ricardo told me this has been the only vintage of La Faraona where the wine was harmonious all the way, starting from the grapes, which gives me an idea of a wine that is going to show and drink nicely throughout its life. It's different from the 2014, which was from a cooler year, but this is every bit as good. 1,666 bottles, 54 magnums, 10 double magnums and six jeroboams were filled the 22nd of January 2020. They've been regrafting a good percentage of the white vines to red for eight years.

Raul Pérez - Ultreia Cova de la Raposa 2018 94/100  47.25
Cool vintages in warm zones seem to work, and it shows in the 2018 Ultreia Cova de la Raposa, which was not produced in 2017 because of the frost. There is only a 500-liter oak barrel, and the wine feels quite fine for the warmer exposure. The sandy soils produce stress in this vineyard, but in a rainier year like 2018, they are an advantage. This feels harmonious, with black rather than red fruit and some dusty tannins, a little more rustic and on the Rhône side more than Burgundy. There are 600 bottles of this. It was bottled in December 2019.

Raul Pérez - Ultreia Petra 2018 95/100 44.14
The 2018 Ultreia Petra comes from the Ponferrada zone, from a very small south-facing plot on slate soils at high altitude—some 820 meters above sea level—that was harvested around one month after the vines from Valtuille. He has around 900 vines here. This is a little exuberant, with fruit and flowers. The palate reveals abundant tannins, and the wine needs a longer time in oak to polish those tannins. It's a wine that also needs time in bottle. But the finish is very tasty and long, more Burgundian from the vineyards, with more tannins that are going to require time in bottle. There was only one barrel, so they filled some 270 bottles of this in December 2019.

Raul Pérez - Ultreia Rapolao 2018 96+/100 44.14
The austere and sleek 2018 Ultreia El Rapolao could be the red equivalent to the white La del Vivo. Vinified with a short maceration, it fermented in chestnut barrel, where the wine's allowed to deliver a veil of flor yeast, and it matured in two used 500-liter barrels and a 225-liter barrique. The plot that produces this Rapolao delivers a more fragile wine. This has 12.6% alcohol and is the longer and more austere of the Rapolao bottlings. It is cleaner and longer, young and juicy. This was the origin of the first Rapolao that they bottled separately in 2011 in the La Vizcaína range. There is magic here. 1,500 bottles produced. It was bottled in October 2019.

Raul Pérez - Ultreia de Valtuille 2018 98/100 44.14
The 2018 Ultreia Valtuille feels very young. Pérez explained that they used more new oak here because he thinks this is the most serious vintage of this wine ever and also his favorite. This is from a plot in Villegas on 100% sandy soils, and it's the twin plot to the Cepas Centenarias from Castro Ventosa, his family winery. As this was the first single-vineyard they produced, they called it simply Valtuille; but with the new classification, this should be called Villegas. This is serious and designed for the long run, subtle and elegant, with the profile of a grand cru, some baby fat and a touch of oak but with juicy tannins, gobsmacking balance and great length. Drink the 2018 La Vizcaína La Vitoriana while you wait for this. 2018 was a low-yielding year in this plot, and they got some 3,000 bottles from almost two hectares that have been organically farmed for some six years now. The first vintage was 2005, which was also bottled as Matador Raúl Pérez. This might change names in the future, as it might be confused with one of the new Vino de Villa.


Valtuille Godello
Castilla y León
Castro Ventosa
D.O. Bierzo
50,63 €
41,84 € hors TVA
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Valtuille Vino de Villa
Castilla y León
Castro Ventosa
D.O. Bierzo
18,32 €
15,14 € hors TVA
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Valtuille Cova de la Raposa
Castilla y León
Castro Ventosa
D.O. Bierzo
42,05 €
34,75 € hors TVA
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Valtuille Villegas
Castilla y León
Castro Ventosa
D.O. Bierzo
42,05 €
34,75 € hors TVA
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Valtuille Rapolao
Castilla y León
Castro Ventosa
D.O. Bierzo
45,42 €
37,54 € hors TVA
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Cepas Centenarias
Castilla y León
Castro Ventosa
D.O. Bierzo
38,42 €
31,75 € hors TVA
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Corullón
Castilla y León
Descendientes de J. Palacios
D.O. Bierzo
38,42 €
31,75 € hors TVA
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Las Lamas
Castilla y León
Descendientes de J. Palacios
D.O. Bierzo
99,98 €
82,63 € hors TVA
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Moncerbal
Castilla y León
Descendientes de J. Palacios
D.O. Bierzo
104,59 €
86,44 € hors TVA
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La Faraona
Castilla y León
Descendientes de J. Palacios
D.O. Bierzo
816,05 €
674,42 € hors TVA
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Ultreia La Cova de la Raposa
Galicia
Viñedos de Raúl Perez
D.O. Bierzo
57,17 €
47,25 € hors TVA
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Ultreia Petra
Galicia
Viñedos de Raúl Perez
D.O. Bierzo
53,41 €
44,14 € hors TVA
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Ultreia Rapolao
Galicia
Viñedos de Raúl Perez
D.O. Bierzo
53,41 €
44,14 € hors TVA
Epuisé Information détaillée

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