2018 Raúl Pérez "Ultreia St-Jacques" Mencía Bierzo

SKU #1474820 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The truly impressive 2018 Ultreia Saint Jacques transcends its price category. They destemmed more grapes because they fermented it in the oak vats they bought from Vega Sicilia to use in the new winery, where it macerated for two months and then matured in used barrels for nine to 10 months. The secret is to use very good grapes from very good vineyards. The wine is clean, precise and fresh, and the oak is super-subtle, almost unnoticeable. The palate reflects a fluid wine of pleasure, a red of thirst. This is the wine where they have invested more, and 2018 has to be the finest vintage to date." (LG) 93+ Inner quote mark (6/2020)

90 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark Fermented in whole bunches in open-top oak vats, this ages in a mix of foudres, barriques and cement. It starts off green, then develops some plummy notes to fill out its silken texture and gamey scents. For roast goat. Inner quote mark (10/2020)

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Price: $18.99
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By: Andrew Kitz | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/19/2021 | Send Email
Over the past five years, Bierzo has been perhaps the most fascinating wine region in Spain for me. There is a coterie of supremely skilled winemakers working there that somehow still fly under the radar, and Raul Pérez Pereira is right at the head of the pack. His entry-level Ultreia St-Jacques comes from a selection of very old Mencía parcels, showing a character and poise that belies its modest station in the line-up. There is a steady brood to this wine, yet it retains an elevated poise throughout. The nose is well-defined with dark plum and black cherry fruit side by side with new leather, camphor/gunflint, licorice, and a sneaking iron/game quality. There's a serious nature to the palate, as though it's hiding something, while simultaneously giving up flavors of olive, crushed rock, dried violets, black cherry, smoke, and anise. The tightly focused structure and texture are compelling, but the fruit seems a bit wound up by the tension. In short, this wine has a lot more to give with age. It's also further proof that Raul Pérez is a winemaking force to be reckoned with.

By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/6/2020 | Send Email
Mencia is one of my absolute favorite varieties. When I first started tasting through Spanish wine seriously, I fell in love with the lovely dark fruited, medium bodied, expressively herbal grape. Raul Perez is one of the best producers and this little wine is dynamite. A great sub-$20 deal!

By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/4/2020 | Send Email
This is one of the most exciting wine values in the store. This is a great dinner red. It is dynamic and expressive. With just a little time in glass the range of fruit aromas goes from bright fresh red berries to dark macerated fruits all the time backed with a wild mountain herbal component. The palate is medium bodied with sleek very fine tannins, driving acidity but without any tartness, all the delicious dark fruits on the palate and a mild savory edge. The wine has a dark savory textural character of Northern Rhone Syrah with the herbal freshness of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. This is what Mencia and Bierzo are all about. It is my hope that one day we will describe those French regions by comparing them to Bierzo. With wine like this I do not think that day will be too far away.

By: Andrew Tobin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/29/2020 | Send Email
I don't quite understand how Bierzo has existed so under the radar for so long in our market. Talk about a region that has insane value for the money—wine that has more complexity and intrigue than it has any right to, and frankly something that could easily be compared to northern Rhone wines. The nose opens with light candied fruit but quickly morphs into more serious dried and forest berries, anise, licorice, and peppered meat. The palate is bright up front, and then moves into a dark, dense forest note with the finish becoming gamier and a little bit more forest-esque. If you like GSMs and want to try something a little less tannic and more approachable, while holding on to all that amazing complexity, I don't know how you could pass this one up!

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