Camino del Norte
El Tesón - 2015
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Never before has El Tesón left its homeland of Spain...until now! With a precious 2300 bottles produced each year, of which we have access to 200, it's a real treat to be able to share it with club members.
Camino del Norte Vinos is a private wine project in El Bierzo, by Luis Miguel Fernández and the world-renowned enologist Raúl Pérez. Though he would never bring it up, Raúl was voted best enologist in the world...TWICE. We thought it was worth mentioning.
Raúl and Luis Miguel believe in total creative freedom when it comes to winemaking, and for that reason, they decided against registering with any regulatory body or DO. Raúl’s wines are very personal; tied to the land, nature, and traditional winemaking methods which allow the vines, earth, and grapes to shine through.
El Tesón (the tenacious one) is named after the small plot of 100-year-old indigenous Mencía vines, from which the grapes come. El Tesón is cherry red in colour with violet edging. Aromas of black truffle, fine cacao, fresh herbs and rich fruit. In the mouth, it is fresh, balanced, long and complex, with delicate floral notes and an elegant lasting finish. As with any wine full of so much care, you have to try it to truly appreciate its beauty.
Annual Production: 2,300 bottles (The club has access to 250 annually)
Type: Tinto (Red)
Finish: Smooth & Long
Grape Variety: Coupage of 90% Mencía and 10% Pinot Noir
Viticulture / Farming: Sustainable Farming - Terroir Driven
Ageing: 16 months in French oak barrels
Winemaker: Raúl Pérez
Bodega: Camino del Norte
Region: Bierzo, northwest of the province of León
Designation of Origin (DO): No DO
Climate: Mild, continental, wide valley with cooling breezes that bring some humidity from the Atlantic, protected from the arid climate from the east
Vineyard: El Tesón, plot between Valtuille and Cacabelos, planted on head training (bush vine pruning) on the slopes of the high valley of the Sil river
Elevation: Between 600 and 700 meters above sea level
Age of Vines: Over 90 years old
Soils: The mountain slopes soil consists mainly of fine elements of slate and quartz, slightly acidic and low in carbonates
- Drink now or keep for up to 12 years
- Recommended decanting about 20 min before serving, or open the bottle 30 min before serving
- Pairs with Tapas, Manchego or any cheese (cow, goat or sheep), Ibérico ham, cold cuts, Paté and spreads, Poultry, Pasta or Pizza, Legumes, Meat, Stews or any rice-based Mediterranean or Asian dishes, not too spiced
- Ideal at room temperature and also slightly chilled
The comarca (equivalent to county in English) of El Bierzo is a privileged area to grow vineyards, with a macro-climate beneficial for viticulture. The low altitude and the humid breezes from the west and the Atlantic prevent late frosts enabling early grape harvest, which keeps freshness and acidity. The average annual temperature is 12 Celsius, with minimums around 3 to 4 Celsius and summer maximums around 24 Celsius. The average annual rainfall is around 700 mm, and the vines receive about 2,200 hours of sunshine per annum.
The grapes are handpicked, each plot and grape variety is picked up early at its right ripening cycle and vinified separately, fermented in large oak open-top barrels with the stems, indigenous yeasts and minimum intervention.
Raúl Pérez, the creator of mythical wines like El Pecado and Sketch, is Spain’s most critically acclaimed enologist. His wines are discussed and sought after around the world. Though his name is on everyone’s lips, his wines touch the lips of a privileged few. All of his liquid creations are made in very limited quantities and more often than not are sold out internationally, to the dismay of many.
In recent times, his wines have received raving reviews from the likes of Robert Parker and other influential international critics who describe him as Spain’s most promising enologist, in the present and looking to the future. In Germany at the “2014 Wine Awards”, he received the award for best enologist in the world and is the first Spaniard to achieve this distinction. Again in 2015, he was recognized as the best enologist in the world by the venerable publication, Bettane + Desseauve, at “Le Grand Tasting Shanghai”.
However, Raúl is a humble man and he would never speak of these titles. He is an unconventional rule breaker who is always pushing the limit, and going beyond it. He listens to nature, works with indigenous grape varieties, intervenes as little as possible, and doesn’t filter or stabilize. His wines are pure character and terroir and his style, though ever-evolving, is unmistakable. Raúl is all or nothing, mediocrity and indifference are not in his vocabulary but heart and soul can be found in all of his wines.
Raúl professes his devotion to many indigenous grape varieties, but there is one he holds dear above all others and has mastered like no one else; mencía of el Bierzo, the land where he was born.
To read more about Raúl, please click here for a thorough article from Spanish Wine Lover.
This link will take you to Raúl Pérez's own Website.
90 Points - Luis Gutiérrez (The Wine Advocate)
93 Points - Guía Peñín