2021 Cesar Marquez Perez Parajes Parcelas del Bierzo Mencia
Cesar Marquez has Bierzo running through his veins, and is the latest generation of the Perez family to own the leading Castro Ventosa winery in north-western Spain. Growing up around surrounded by the region's leading exponents, including a lengthy apprenticeship with one of the world's greatest winemakers, his uncle Raul Perez, has shaped much of what Cesar values in wine. While he still manages the family estate, Cezar started his own venture in 2015, and is already one of the most exciting young prospects in Spain.
Having a deep understanding and access to some of the best vineyards Bierzo has to offer, Cezar focuses on preserving purity and freshness, highlighting the promise Mencia has in the right place when made with attention to detail. Cezar is structuring his line-up of wines in Burgundian fashion, making a broader appellation wine, a village wine, along with several single vineyard offerings. Winemaking is similar on all wines, with grapes partially destemmed and fermented in open barriques, before spending 12 months in old barrels without any racking or top ups before bottling the following winter. These are wines that are not just great examples of Bierzo Mencia, but wines that truly stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest from any region or country.
Parajes is Cesar's appellation wine, sourced from nine villages across the area with the aim to be the purest expression of Bierzo and Mencia.
The super affordable 2021 Parajes really overdelivers in this cool year. It was produced with grapes from up to 45 different plots in nine villages, trying to capture the essence of Bierzo. This regional red mixes soils and altitudes, mostly very old plots and therefore planted with a field blend with a majority of Mencía but also around 10% Alicante Bouschet and 5% whites or other reds like Bastardo, Souson or Estaladiña. It fermented by plot in stainless steel and plastic bins with some full clusters, indigenous yeasts and variable macerations, ranging between 15 and 60 days. Seventy-five percent of the volume matured in 225-, 400- and 500-liter barrels and the rest in a 5,000-liter oak foudre. It's aromatic, floral, perfumed and elegant, with a medium-bodied palate and very fine tannins. It is round and juicy, with very fine tannins and depth and complexity, corresponding to a much more expensive wine. A bargain. He harvested quite early in 2021, and the wines have moderate alcohol. 29,504 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2022. Drink 2023-2030.
Luis Gutiérrez - Wine Advocate (Aug 11, 2023)