Atalier by Raúl Pérez, Albarino Rias Baixas 'A Cruz das Ánimas' 2020

94 Points, Wine Advocate – "The 2020 Atalier comes from the A Cruz das Ánimas vineyard in Dena, in the town center. It matured in 5,000-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured for seven months. It has the spark and liveliness of 2020, a transparent, pure and defined Albariño with good acidity and a salty, very tasty finish. This transcends its price point. 15,000 bottles were produced from 1.5 hectares."

"A Cruz das Ánimas’ (trans. “The Crossroads of Souls”) is nothing short of explosive. It leaps out of the glass with aromas of oyster shell and etherized granite and follows through with a palate rich in marine-inflected yellow and green fruits and sporting a powerful surge of acidity.

The grapes come from a pair of Atlantic-adjacent sites in the Cambados area of the Salnés valley. Despite the supercharged acid impression here, the harvest was actually undertaken quite a bit later than the average for the zone. The reason for this is that Raúl likes to wait until the malic acid levels in the grapes go down enough to obviate the need for even partial malolactic fermentation (a practice far more prevalent in the Ríaz Baixas than back labels and tech sheets would suggest). The resulting must then ferments and ages in large, neutral French oak foudres. The oxygenation that occurs during this élevage gives the wine a softer, rounder entry that balances the razor-sharp acids that might otherwise render the wine shrill.." -Skurnik Wines



Country: Spain
Region: Galicia, Rias Baixas
Variety: Albarino
Terroir: grapes come from a pair of Atlantic-adjacent sites in the Cambados area of the Salnés valley
Winemaking: ferments and ages in large, neutral French oak foudres

"Raúl Pérez Pereira is universally considered to be one of the world’s most visionary winemakers. Since he produced his first vintage for his family’s winery in 1994 at the age 22, he has been in the forefront of the conversation about what has been called “The New Spain”. In 2005, he left his family business to strike out on his own, creating Bodegas y Viñedos Raúl Pérez, which quickly became the point of reference for the Bierzo appellation. In the intervening years, he has expanded his sphere of activity to include the appellations of Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra and Tierra de León, but his heart and his home remain in Valtuille de Abajo, the village in Bierzo where his family has been tending vines for well over 300 years.

In addition to numerous other accolades, Raúl was named “Winemaker of the Year” by German publication Der Feinschmecker in 2014 and “Best Winemaker in the World” for 2015 by the French publication Bettane+Desseauve. In the February 2018 Decanter, Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros wrote, “Raúl Pérez is the archetype of the intuitive winemaking genius.” A picture of Raúl in that same article is captioned, “Is this the best winemaker in the world?” Raúl would certainly not self-apply any of these superlatives. In fact, his genius is far exceeded by his humility and generosity of spirit. That humility comes through in his wines. These are not “winemaker” wines so much as they are unadulterated expressions of the villages and vineyards from which they hail." -Skurnik


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