ALERT! The Wine Advocate’s ratings are about to be announced on Tuesday, June 30th. which means we ALL NEED TO ACT NOW if one’s wish is to secure the 2017 Raúl Pérez La Vizcaina la Vitoriana at just $43.95 a bottle!
A little more insight!
Up until a few years ago Raul Perez’s Mencia was rarely available on the west coast. We can thank the insight and marketing by his new importer. In the past, almost everything was swallowed up instantly by NYC hipster somms and trendy merchants. Now we have a fighting chance, but one needs to still act quickly! After all Perez has been named “Winemaker of the Year”, multiple times by different trade publications. He is a true visionary and pioneer, advancing Spain’s renaissance to identify emerging regional fine wine.
The 2017 is another outstanding, stunning La Vitoriana, perhaps the finest ever, with a sense of purer fruit intensity and pedigree, showing finesse, elegance and great vitality. It makes one swoon! Classic Mencia aromas of spicy violets and ground pepper. Crushed vivid wild berries. Slight loamy minerality. The fine tannins gently cascade on the lengthy and stylish finish. Drink or cellar over the next 5-7 years. A great track record, the 2014 and 2015 were each rated 95 points by Wine Advocate, while the 2016 was rated even higher at 96 points. Regardless, I know this wine can only thrill. About 5,000 bottles are produced. — $43.95 a bottle.
La Vitoriana has been my favorite to secure since the 2014 vintage. Under the La Vizcaina label, this is a relatively new project for Raul Perez, who constantly explores the hillsides crus surrounding his village Valtuille de Abajo (Bierzo-Galicia). La Vitoriana is a dry farmed, field blend of mostly Mencia from ancient bush vines densely planted on the 1.8 hectare La Vitoriana Vineyard. Originally planted in 1890 with both northern and southern exposures, sandy soils dominate the upper sections and clay and river rock stones in the lower.
Perez produces his wine in a similar fashion. That is, indigenous yeast, whole cluster maceration, and aging always in at least one year used barrels of varying sizes. No fining or filtration. Some of the wines see longer maceration than others. Alcohol is kept in check.
All of Raul Perez’s Mencia are terruños (terroir) expressions, beautifully balanced, showing off varying levels of extract, but all are profoundly aromatic with fresh and vibrant dark berry fruits intermixed with loamy spice, minerality, and a floral-like garrigue. On the palate the wines simply dance with rapid fire bursts of fruit, but each with its own lilt of refinement and elegance that can reminds one of the transparency found grand Burgundy and the northern Rhone’s Côte-Rôtie.
Most all the Perez “Mencia” wines are from various sources along the pilgrim-age to the tomb of Saint James in Santiago di Compostela, which is the main reason each wine is NOT completely 100% Mencia. Since 900 AD, the monks making the trek would bring gifts of various vine cuttings for the monasteries en route ; including Trousseau (Bastardo), Alicante Bouschet, Souson, and Godello and Palamino. Over time these vines became co-mingled in the organically farmed, but predominantly Mencia vineyards. Raul Perez sources from specific vineyard sites to be kept separate and designated, but also produces from various field blends from different zones in and around the area in Valtuille de Abajo where he grew up and his family has worked for generations. His model is very Burgundian and represents a collection of terroirs and growers.