If anything characterises Raul Pérez’s wines, it is the vineyards they are made in and their simple complexity. This León-born oenologist takes nature very seriously.
Dubbed the ‘New Wine Guru’, he is considered the best oenologist in Spain and among the best in the world. His secret also lies in his priority: to exert minimum influence on the grape. Observing each plot of land, each climate and each variety’s ripening time are the bases of his work. This way of looking at winemaking is what determines his wines’ ability to express themselves – without barely being touched, without additives to transform them, with minimal wood tones and with each vintage modifying itself. This work ethos has turned into a life philosophy that brings an unmistakable hallmark to his non-standard wines, ideal for drinking as soon as they come out, but better even after 15-20 years in the bottle.
Raúl Pérez’s early days are tied to Castro Ventosa, the family winery in the town of Valtuille, his birthplace in El Bierzo region, León. This is where he made the wines he was passionate about until in 2003 he flew the nest with his first personal project, Ultreia, a wine named after the greeting used by Camino de Santiago pilgrims in times past that translates as ‘we are going further’. Today, Ultreia is among the long list of wines Pérez makes in Spain, in Portugal with his friend Dirk Niepoort and in South Africa with Eben Sadie.
A restless creator, Pérez decided to bottle the result of various plots of land and sun exposures in Valtuille, starring the Mencía grape, under the name La Vizcaína de Vinos. In other parts of Spain and around the world, Pérez also makes wines with his trademark approach: respecting nature, using the stem and adapting production output to the amount of grapes collected from the chosen vineyards.
Whether he’s on his own, collaborating or advising, he only takes on exciting projects, creating a very unique style that has led him to reap more than 200 labels in The Wine Advocate list – by the famous US wine critic Robert Parker.