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Raul Perez, La Vizcaina - Las Gundinas, Bierzo 2018
Las Gundinas is routinely the most sensual and flashy of the La Vizcaina crus, exuding soft ripe fruit, sweeter truffley aromas with hints of smoke and forest fruit liqueur. Combining both breadth and depth on the palate, it is fuller bodied and more immediately generous with sumptuous creamy tannins. The flatter topography here, clay soils and a south east exposition means that Las Gundinas never struggles for ripeness, yielding a very generous and easy-going wine.
Las Gundinas is one of Raul’s lower single vineyards, located at (just!) 500m of elevation. Aged for 1 year in used 225L barrique, 100% whole bunch fermented and kept for 60-90 days on the skins.
First rising to prominence as the winemaker at his family estate Castro Ventosa, in 2004 he branched out on his own and now maintains a dizzying array of projects in Bierzo and further afield in Rias Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, and the Douro with Dirk Niepoort. One of his most exciting projects is particularly far-flung. It is a collaboration in South Africa with Swartland-icon Eben Sadie; producing two barrels of Monastrell that are famously hard to track down. In fact, it is near-impossible to keep track of all the labels with which Raul Perez is involved. He thinks it is close to 100.
Both the La Vizcaina and Ultreia cellars are crammed to the rafters with barrels that contain either the next-big-thing, or purely experimental wines, in the truest sense of the word. Bierzo is still a region largely untapped by producers, as the great vineyards of the Northern Rhone or Burgundy once were too.
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