2021 Cesar Marquez Perez Pico Ferreira 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.
Pico Ferreira is located in the village of Corullon, and while only 300m from Sufreiral it’s on the opposite side of the mountain with a north-east exposure. Soils here are very poor, thin and rocky slate where the roots struggle to penetrate. This leads to small clusters and wines that are often more robust than others in the portfolio.
The super elegant and fresh 2021 Pico Ferreira comes from northeast-facing ancient vines in the village of Corullón on shallow slate soils that deliver small bunches. Each of the plots fermented separately with their own yeasts with 50% full clusters and 45 days of maceration, and the wine matured in a combination of 500- and 600-liter oak barrels for around one year. It has a harmonious and elegant palate with 12.92% alcohol and fine-grained tannins. It is serious, with tension and the stony feeling from the slate soils. This has more depth and complexity than the 2020—more serious. 1,504 bottles were filled in December 2022. Drink 2024-2034.
Luis Gutiérrez - Wine Advocate (Aug 11, 2023)