2015 Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, Ultreia de Valtuille, $70
Winery info: The Pérez family founded Castro Ventosa in northwest Spain’s Bierzo region in 1712 and still oversee it today. Raúl Pérez managed their vineyards for years before launching his own personal project which focuses on limited, handcrafted wines. Most of his vineyards are in Valtuille de Abajo, where his family’s winery is located. Thanks to his intuitive talent, his dedication to perfection, and innovative spirit, he has gained a reputation as a somewhat of a winemaking legend in Spain.
Grapes: Predominantly Mencía with Bastardo (aka Trousseau), Garnacha Tintorero (aka Alicante Bouschet), Godello, and Doña Blanca. The fruit is fermented whole cluster in large open-top chestnut vats, then aged one year in neutral barrel.
Vineyard: Las Villegas, a 1.1-hectare vineyard planted in 1908. It sits at roughly 2000 feet elevation, with sandy soils strewn with small pebbles.
Flavor Profile: Silky textured and full of expressive aromas and flavors of dark ripe fruit, white pepper, and licorice. With complex notes of spice and earth and gentle tannins on the lingering finish.
Availability: It is still available for now.
Drinkability: Anytime over the next ten to 15 years.
Food Pairing: Game birds, dishes with beans and pulses, or hearty stews.
2016 Domaine Alain Gautheron, Chablis, Les Fourneaux, $29.75
Winery info: A family winery founded in the tiny Chablis village of Fleys in 1809. Alain Gautheron’s son Cyril now represents the seventh generation to head the small estate.
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay. It gets about nine months lees aging before bottling.
Vineyard: Les Fourneaux, a Premier Cru vineyard located next to their home and winery. The site has a warm microclimate (fourneaux is French for furnace), which tends to add riper flavors to the wines. The vines, which range from 25 to 40 years old, are planted on Kimmeridgien limestone soil. There are 40 Premier Cru vineyards in Chablis, representing about 14% of the region’s total production.
Flavor Profile: This wine has full, ripe fruit flavors, perfectly balanced by bracing acidity and flinty minerality from the limestone soil. Powerful, yet elegant and expressive, with notes of white flowers, soft spice, and a hint of citrus.
Availability: It is still in decent supply.
Drinkability: Anytime over the next three to five years.
Food Pairing: With its natural acidity, it’s perfect for seafood or lighter meats: scallops with saffron butter, oysters, halibut, chicken tarragon, or sushi.