Wines as distinct as the man behind them
Considered one of the world’s most talented (and restless!) winemakers, Raúl Pérez is among the leading figures of the so-called ‘New Spain’ movement and was instrumental in putting the Bierzo region under the spotlight. His wines are, just like him, full of character, straightforward and unpretentious.
Location:Valtuille, Bierzo, Castilla y León, Spain (and endless other places)
Viticultural standards: Organic (non-certified)
Interesting fact: Raúl Pérez has repeatedly acknowledged he owes much to another iconic name, Álvaro Palácios, who single-handedly changed the image and standards of viticulture in Bierzo. According to Raúl there’s a ‘before’ and an ‘after Álvaro’ and he learnt much from this master and from his modern approach uniquely attuned to terroir and tradition.
Raúl Pérez wines
Raúl Pérez honed his craft at his family winery, Castro Ventosa, founded by the Peréz in 1752. It was there that he led his first harvest, aged 22, and developed his instinctive knowledge for the terroirs of Valtuille and for Mencía, in its most refined and classical forms. His family legacy, his academic studies and his endless curiosity are the foundations of the craftsmanship and passion that make his wines so distinct.
Hoping to explore a different, more light-handed approach to viticulture and winemaking, he launched his personal venture, independent from his family’s estate (where, however, he remains as consultant winemaker) in 2003. Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez was thus born. The first wines released under his name were the now iconic Ultreia, possibly the best ‘entry-level’ wines you’ll ever drink, named after the greeting that the pilgrims walking the Camino to Santiago, which passes through Valtuille, used in the past. It means ‘we go further’ and is a sign of endurance and hope. Since then, the list of wines authored by Raúl has shamelessly grown, now counting more than 200 references in The Wine Advocate’s database.
As passionate as he is prolific, Raúl has extended his winemaking skill to multiple projects, regions and collaborations. Among his most exciting ‘pas de deux’ are Camino del Norte with Luis Miguel Fernández (Bierzo), Castro Candaz and Atalier with Rodrigo Méndez (Rías Baixas and Ribeira Sacra), Ultreia Douro with Dirk Niepoort (Douro and Ribeira Sacra), Encinas with Antoine Graillot (Bierzo) and Cabo de Las Tormentas with Eben Sadie (Swartland). Further to these his portfolio includes the multiple explorations he has been doing on his own to deepen his knowledge of the grapes and terroirs of Bierzo, Rías Baixas and Ribeira Sacra.
Raul’s endless energy is only matched by the joy each of his wines bring to one’s glass.