Raul Perèz & Antoine Graillot, Encinas, Bierzo, Spain
The concept of this wine is to apply both Graillot and Pérez techniques to the terroir of Bierzo. Antoine’s contribution was fermentation in cement vat, a practice that fell out of favor in Bierzo a generation ago but is still used by the Graillot family in Crozes-Hermitage. The vat he purchased for this project actually wouldn’t fit through the door of Raúl’s winery, so they had to remove a section of the roof in order to lower it in by crane. In addition to providing local knowledge and access for the grape purchases, Raúl also encouraged Antoine to leave the wine on the skins for an extended period of time after the whole cluster fermentation was complete.
The grapes come from three different sites in the northwest quadrant of Bierzo, one of which is the Rapolao vineyard in Valtuille de Abajo, a site that is rapidly gaining recognition as one of the finest in the appellation. The brand name “Enci- nas” refers to the Quercus Ilex, more commonly known as Holm Oaks.
They fermented the fruit as whole clusters in a large cement vat, then left it to macerate on the skins, moving it in early November to a large foudre for ten months. This is Bierzo stripped naked, down to its bedrock of slate. There’s a buzzing energy in the black fruit that keeps going for days, carried along on supple textures and elegant notes of bay. The black fruit is gamey and concentrated without any excess weight. Decant this for roast baby lamb.