The winemaker who respects nature
Raúl Pérez takes nature very seriously. His priority is to exert the minimum influence on the grape, that’s how he understands wine. Observing every type of soil, each individual climate and the ripening times of every variety is the basis of his work, an endeavor that allows the wine to express itself without touching it, without any additives that transform it, taking the lead from the wood and leaving each vintage to modify itsel, thus achieving non-standardized wines. This method of working leaves an unmistakable stamp on his wines, ideal for drinking from the moment they are put on the market and which, after 15 or 20 years in the bottle, continue to show character and freshness.
Raul Perez´s beginnings are linked to Castro Ventosa, a family winery located in Valtuille, his birthplace, in the Bierzo region of Leon. The wines he produces are the wines that inspire him, 2003 being a key year: He took flight with his first personal project, Ultreia, a wine that takes its name from the greeting that the pilgrims on the Camino to Santiago used in the past, a journey that passes through his village, which means ‘we go further’. Ultreia is, nowadays, a long list of wine references, not only produced in Spain, but also in Portugal together with his friend Dirk Niepport or in South Africa with another friend of his, Eben Sadie. A restless creator, he decided to bottle under the name La Vizcaína de Vinos, the result of the different terroirs and orientations of Valtuille, with the Mencía grape as the protagonist. Pérez produces wines in his own way, both in Spain and in other parts of the world, respecting nature, and using, in most cases the stalk, and producing, depending on the amount of grapes that, year after year, the chosen vineyards give. On his own, in collaboration or advising, he only embarks on exciting projects, creating his own style that has allowed him to boast more than 200 labels on the list of The Wine Advocate, drawn up by the prestigious American critic Robert Parker.
The emotion that Raúl Pérez felt when he first set foot in the Faculty of Oenology marked his present and future. He embraced the family history in connection with the land and the wine, and an oenologist was born!
In 1996, the revolution began: Pérez went from being an academic grower to what he is today: the winemaker who lets nature flow.
Álvaro Palacios marked a turning point in the viticulture of El Bierzo, and Raúl Pérez was no stranger to this fact: he learned a great deal from him.