Ultreia, Saint James's, Bierzo
    Raúl Pérez

    Ultreia, Saint James's, Bierzo,



    Raúl Pérez, Ultreia, Saint James's, Bierzo, 2020

    Justerini & Brooks Tasting note
    Raúl Pérez, Ultreia, Saint James's, Bierzo, 2020

    A joint venture between Justerini & Brooks and Raul Perez, Ultreia Saint James’s is the product of the full and fluid 2020 vintage; a warm but balanced year producing wines of supple fruits, spice and ripe tannins. Aromatically, Saint James’s is all violets, cherries and wild blue fruits, before traces of smoke, iodine and schisty mineral notes develop with air. Further herbs, salt and red berries jostle for space on the palate amongst prominent but ripe tannins and beams of refreshing acidity. In keeping with the Pérez style, all the individual components were fermented with 100% whole bunches and raised in used 500L French oak barrels for 14 months. Though approachable now, the wine has all the material to develop handsomely over the next ten to fifteen years. A blend of 45% Cabanelas (Valtuille de Abajo) – a 2-ha east-facing site, on clay-sand soils, planted 1930; 23% La Vitoriana (Valtuille de Abajo) – a north-facing site at 600m elevation on poor, stony soils and planted in 1881 on original rootstocks. 23% Valdecanada villages – blend of three parcels in the schist-rich Valdecanada region at 750–850m and 9% El Cerro (Valdecanada) – a single vineyard field blend of mainly Mencía but with some Palomino and Bastardo (Trousseau) too. Raised in a two-year-old 500-litre barrel that was originally destined for the top Valdecanada project. A total of 900 bottles were produced.



    Raúl Pérez
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    Raúl Pérez

    Raúl Pérez

    Raúl Pérez is widely regarded as one of the world’s most talented, innovative, and restless winemakers. His constant reinvention of his own portfolio and quest to restore old Bierzo vineyards since breaking away from his family estate Castro Ventosa in 2004, not to mention an extensive roster of consultancy projects around the world, has helped significantly in putting this corner of north-western Spain back on the map. In doing so, Pérez has inspired legions of young winemakers to follow in his footsteps, and yet he remains humble and softly-spoken. As many commentators have noted, there is no “Raúl Pérez” style, instead his beautiful Godellos and Mencia-based reds seek only to express their origins and push the boundaries of quality within the region, with Pérez adapting the winemaking to suit each individual parcel of vines. The only constant is a hands-off philosophy that allows natural fermentations to take place in traditional wooden vats with whole bunches in the case of the reds, and aging in neutral casks of varying sizes. The two regional wines Ultreia Godello and Ultreia Saint Jacques are some of the most exciting entry-level wines we have ever come across, while the mid-level La Vizcaina de Vinos range spotlights five single vineyards in the village of Valtuille de Abajo, the heart of the Bierzo region. The small batch Ultreia bottlings are rare birds indeed, often representing no more than a barrel or two from tiny, special plots, and as such are not necessarily produced every year. Put together, the Raúl Pérez stable is a big and at times complicated range, but one thing is for sure; the wines will never disappoint.

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