Through customer responses there's no doubt anymore just how fantastic the whites and reds coming from  Spain's new maestro, Raul Perez really are. If I had to choose one wine to perfectly capture what all the fuss is about it's surely his "La Del Vivo" Bierzo Blanco. Last vintage was my first taste, immediately bringing to mind a Raveneau-esque texture and a seriousness that belied its $38 price tag.

Today, we turn to the just-landed 2015 vintage of this magical combo of Godello and Doña Blanca planted in 1925 and 1940 from just 1.5 hectares.

Let's get this out of the way quickly: the 2015 vintage of this wine is NOT what you're expecting. Although 2015 saw hot, dry conditions through much of Europe, Perez has given us something beautifully at odds with nature. This white, whose strong suits are always its freshness and salinity, clocks in at 11.8% alcohol and is noted below for its flinty and mineral qualities by Spanish authority, Luiz Gutiérrez of Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate.

La Vizcaina de Vinos is based on the hillside crus around Raul's hometown of Vatuille de Abajo in Bierzo. "La Del Vivo" comes from Godello and Doña Blanca vines planted in 1925 and 1940 at 500 meters elevation. This sandy and clay soil brings cool-fruited and saline notes that counter the orchard fruit and faint citrus profile brilliantly. The overall balance is impeccable. Blinded, this wine takes you to top Chablis domaines in one sip. 

The winemaking approach is fascinating. 80% of the grapes are pressed and fermented in large neutral French oak barrels. But, 20% of the grapes ferment on their skins in clay amphorae for one year, completely untouched. These two parts are blended prior to bottling without undergoing any fining or filtering. 

Finding Spanish whites that harness all of the inherent richness of the sun-soaked terrain is no tall task, but revealing them in a frame where harmony and balance steal the show is something entirely unique.  

In 2014 Raul Perez was named best winemaker in the world from the German publication, Der Feinschmecke. And in 2015 the same honor was bestowed by France's Bettane & Desseauve. For lovers of Chablis and Côte de Beaune white Burgundy this is a project that must be on your radar!

Gutiérrez gives the 2015 his greatest review to date:

"I also got to taste the 2015 La Vizcaína la del Vivo, which came from a vineyard in the zone of La Poulosa in the village of Valtuille de Abajo that was planted with Godello as well as reds and other white varieties. The wine was fermented in 500-liter oak barrels and old terracotta amphorae. It has a subtle nose, with contained ripeness (it's 11.8% alcohol!) and a flinty, gunpowder-like sensation. The palate is austere and mineral, serious, tasty, not as explosive as other vintages. This is more about the soil. I think this is going to age beautifully. Some 3,500 bottles were filled in March 2017." (08/17)

2015 La Vizcaina de Vinos Bierzo Blanco "La Del Vivo" 
$38 per bottle.

Raul Perez Mixed 6-Pack: $259 (Regularly $277)
(One bottle of each wine offered today)

2016 Raul Perez Ultreia Saint Jacques Bierzo Mencia
$23 per bottle.

2014 Raul Perez Bierzo Tinto Ultreia
$34 per bottle.

2011 Raul Perez Tierre de Leon Albarin Blanco
$57 per bottle.

2011 Raul Perez Tierre de Leon Tinto
$57 per bottle.

2014 Raul Perez Bierzo Tinto Ultreia de Valtuille
$68 per bottle.