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.