2021 Raúl Pérez – La Vizcaina de Vinos, Bierzo Blanco, Godello, La del Vivo, Lomas de Valtuille, Spain.
I first tasted this Godello based Bierzo Blanco with Raúl Pérez, one of Spain’s greatest winemakers, back in 2017, with his 2014 vintage and loved it, but this 2021 is even better and it is truly a fantastic wine, with elements that remind me of Premier Cru Chablis, it shows off steely mineral tones, chalky stones and crystal clear crisp apple, lemon and white peach fruit along with reductive and leesy hazelnut, seashore salinity, tangy herb, white blossoms, verbena and bitter almond. The mouth feel is excellent, with a lovely and elegant medium bodied presence on the palate, making for an exceptional white wine that thrills the senses and goes great with a variety of cuisine choices. For the money here, you get a huge bang for the buck, this is a label to chase down. Light gold in the glass, the La Vizcaina de Vinos, Bierzo Blanco, Godello, La del Vivo, which includes a little bit of Doña Blanca, opens nicely and impresses for its depth and class, highlighting the quality of the varietal and the terroir here in Spain’s Castilla y Leon region, not too far away from Galicia. This remote place has a complex mix of soils with slate, clay, sand and some limestone and home to the Mencia red grape, famous here since Roman times, as well as Godello, which is capable of wines on par with the great wines of Burgundy, as seen here with Raúl’s offerings.

One of Raúl Pérez’s newer projects, La Vizcaina de Vinos, is a label to explore the vines of his hometown Vatuille de Abajo in Beirzo and his intriguing La del Vivo Bierzo Blanco is a stunning white wine made from two individual parcels, the La Poulosa, planted in 1940, and the Las Villegas, planted in 1925, which are a mix of clay and sand and planted mainly to Godello and the rare native varietal Doña Blanca. The gifted talent of Pérez is on full display again in this amazing white, which I first tasted with the man himself a few years ago in San Francisco, it is always textured, lively and complex with dusty dry crisp detail, with the Godello grapes seeing about 80% fermented in 500L puncheon sized barrels, with about 20% of the grapes being fermented on the skins and aged in open top clay amphorae that is protected by flor yeasts. This unique process adds to the slightly savory tones almost tannic structure to balance the lush and creamy Godello mouthfeel. This Godello, which is also found in and around the Ribeira Sarca, would be great with lobster, crab and poultry dishes, as well with soft creamy farm cheeses. Pérez, as I’ve mentioned, is the Godfather of Mencia, which is the main red grape of the Beirzo appellation and you should never miss a chance to try his versions, they are the iconic wines of the region. I highly recommend the La Vitoriana Mencia Beirzo DO Tinto (red) and also the wines under the separate Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez label too.
($40 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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