In the February 2018 Decanter, Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros wrote, “Raúl Pérez is the archetype of the intuitive winemaking genius.” If you want to taste what Pedro is talking about, make sure to get some of Raul's 2019 La Vizcaina 'La Vitoriana' Bierzo Tinto. It is a wine of grace, transparency, and beauty.
2019 La Vizcaina by Raul Perez 'La Vitoriana' Bierzo Tinto
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 94 points Vinous Media
A magical wine from one of the world's most talented and visionary winemakers. 60 bottles up for grabs.
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Whenever I drink a wine made by Raul Perez, I am blown away, and that was certainly the case when I had this one last night. Wow!!! It's hard to put into words how righteous this wine is. It possesses stunning and complex aromatics, deep and profound flavors, and seamless and silky texture. In a nutshell, it has characteristics usually only found in wines that cost $75+.
Raul Perez produced his first wines in 1994, when he was just 22 years old. The "tuned-in" wine world took immediate notice, and in the 25 years since then, Raul's reputation has grown while demand for his wines has risen dramatically. If you've never experienced the joys of the Mencia grape made by a master of the varietal, this is your chance.
La Vizcaína is a project that is near and dear to Raul's heart, as the wines under this label are made from unique hillside sites scattered around his hometown of Vatuille de Abajo. La Vitoriana is a north-facing cru that was originally planted in 1890. This vineyard's high altitude, north-facing exposure, and sandy soils consistently produce one of the most ethereal wines in this range. All of the farming is organic, the fermentations occur with native yeasts, the wine sees zero new oak, and it is bottled without fining or filtration.
There's a magical quality about this wine in the sense that you can taste the place, the grape, and the personality who "put the pieces together." Almost all Mencia with bits and pieces of Bastardo (Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), and a few others, this is fermented with whole clusters in large, older oak vats. The finished wine is about as pretty as red wine can get.
You will often find folks comparing Raul's wines to everything from Grand Cru Red Burgundy and Cote Rotie to Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. I sense what they're are saying, but this is a singular wine that has its own distinct personality. As I poured my first glass last night, I became very happy, very fast. This literally smells and tastes of freshly picked, warm and ripe cherry and raspberry right out of the gate. With just a couple swirls of the glass, more complex notes of violet, rose petal, exotic spices, and savory herbs come out to play. The palate is incredibly fine, supple, and balanced, and the finish just won't quit.
It will be incredibly hard for me to keep my hands off of this one, but I'll try, because this will be even better in 5 to 10 years. Trust me, it's amazing right now, but it will come together and harmonize even more in the coming years. I've gone on long enough. 60 bottles are available, and that is it for the vintage.
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