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Definition Raúl Perez

Mencia wines from sandy soils, by Raúl Pérez.

History Raúl Perez

Raúl Pérez is one of Spain’s most popular winemakers today. Everybody wants to buy his wines! And everybody talks about them, even though there are few who have ever tasted them!

Raúl makes wines in many D.O.’s and regions, and not only in Spain, but also in South Africa, Portugal, South America.

La Buena Vida has been following him since the year 2000, when he was working at Castro Ventosa, his family estate, in Valtuille de Abajo. Then he worked as an oenologist-consultant for other estates in El Bierzo. He raised the Mencía grape to unprecedented heights; he helped Ricardo and Alvaro Palacios to start their prestigious project and meanwhile, took an interest in all sorts of wines in the world. And as Raúl’s passion never sleeps, he always goes further.

From 2005 to 2007, he left the family estate to embark on a wine odyssey. In these two years, he became a star in the wine business. His motto: to make authentic wines with each region’s typical old grapes. In his own words: “I prefer to make an undrinkable Galician wine but with at least a true Galician character”.

He made dozens of wines in a number of places, especially in the northwest of Spain, but not only. Including some wines he was never able to sell!

This way of working brings him a lot of experience, which he put to good use in trying to express the maximum from each local grape.

Today, he is making (or consulting for) more than 80 wines. He also recently had two mini-cellars built for his own use. One in the Tierra de León area, in the village of Valdevimbre, and one in his native Bierzo. There, in Salas de los Barrios, he produces his Ultreia, the quintessence of the Mencía. Raúl always works organic, as naturally as possible. He uses very small doses of SO2.

The wines he sends us are always in very small quantities, too. And what’s more, we never quite know what he will be sending us. That is Raúl Pérez all over! So you had better order quickly and in advance! Raúl’s creations deserve it. Because with them, we enter another dimension, almost metaphysical. So thank you, Raúl!

Varieties

Mencía is the grape with which everything started for Raúl. He still takes part in the winemaking of the Valtuille, at his family estate of Castro Ventosa, but its most ambitious Mencías are those he makes under the name of Ultreia de Valtuille. "Ultreia" is a Latin word meaning “farewell” – it was given to the pilgrims on their way to Santiago.

Raúl also produces a Mencía wine in the Ribeira Sacra, where the grape takes a more Atlantic character. This wine is named El Pecado (The Sin).

Raúl also makes a little Pinot Noir, from a small vine in El Bierzo. The wine is named "La Tentación".

In his other cellar, at Valdevimbre, he vinifies Prieto Picudo, under the "Tierra de León" mention the wine is called Delito & Castigo (Crime and Punishment, like Dostoevsky’s novel). It is a powerful, rough wine that needs time to settle down. Prieto Picudo is a difficult grape, often vegetal and harsh when picked too early. It is both acidic and tannic.

Near Madrid, Raúl also makes a Grenache, in cooperation with Daniel Jiménez-Landi, of Cebreros: the top wine "El Reventon". Last but not least, he lends a hand to Marc Isart (Bernabeleva), with his Grenaches.

Terroir

All the wines Raúl makes illustrate the terroirs they come from.

In El Bierzo, on the family estate, he is famous for his sandy soil Mencía.

His "Ultreia", on the other hand, is made on slate. In the Ribeira Sacra, the soils are a mix of slate, granite and sand – those vines are on steep slopes and nearly inaccessible.

In Rias Baixas, he works on granite soils, mixed with clay and sand. In León, the soils are mainly poor and sandy. In Monterrei, there are sands and slate.

Raúl mainly works in northern climates, often with an Atlantic influence.

This influence is translated into the wines, which are generally very fresh and crisp.

Winemaking

Raúl avoids too much intervention on his wines. He harvests the grapes as late as possible for he is looking for the optimal ripeness. This is all the more important as he does not destalk the grapes before fermentation. Unripe grapes would give vegetal notes to the wine. But with ripe fruit, he gets a very good balance.

Raúl uses as little SO2 as possible and mainly works with large wooden vats, and a small part of Burgundy barrels (300 and 500 litres).

He thinks the wood must never be noticed in his wines.

Even if they are all different, they have one thing in common: their character, and often, their Atlantic signature and freshness.

In all of the wine projects with which he is associated, the vineyards are farmed organically and in some cases, biodynamically.

Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines
Raúl Perez - Spanish wines

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