From his family home in the rugged, northwestern Bierzo region, Raúl Pérez has become one of Spain’s most influential winemakers (and possibly its most extravagantly bearded). He oversees projects across the country, as well as in Portugal, France and South Africa. Ask him when he plans to slow down, and he’ll say, “Never—I want to be like Bruce Springsteen, still doing four-hour concerts when I’m 70.”
2015 Viñedos Raúl Pérez Ultreia Saint Jacques ($20) Pérez is obsessed with exploring the terroirs of single vineyards, or even tiny plots of vines. But he also makes this overall Bierzo blend from vineyards throughout the region. It’s a stupendous deal, with supple berry fruit and dark chocolate notes.
2014 La Vizcaína de Vinos El Rapolao ($36) A tiny two-acre parcel of 45-year-old vines (mostly Mencía, Bierzo’s mainstay variety) produces this subtle, layered red, with its aromas of smoky tea and black cherries.
2015 Viñedos Raúl Pérez El Pecado ($75) One of Pérez’s most famous wines comes from Spain’s remote Ribeira Sacra region. A century-old Mencía vineyard on rocky terraces produces this spicy, savory red that’s hotly pursued by collectors.