La Vizcaína, on the other hand, is Raúl latest venture. Launched to explore and embrace the terroir of his home village, Valtuille de Abajo, the wines are all single-vineyard with an emphasis on terroir expression and longevity. Las Gundiñas is one of the most cherished sites in Valtuille–and in Bierzo more broadly–where Raúl manages 2.2 hectares of mostly Mencía vines, the average age of which is over a century old(!). The predominant soil type is dominant in clay and chalk. Elevation is over 500 meters above sea level, making for the ideal expression of Mencía highlighting both concentration and elegance.
Raúl and his partner César Márquez ferment the ultimate blend–including Mencía, Bastardo, Garnacha Tintorera, and Doña Blanca–naturally in open-top containers with whole-clusters completely intact for nearly two months. Aging is exclusively in old oak barrels for twelve months. The resulting wine is fresh and vibrant, but with a undercurrent of depth and complexity, not to mention a backbone meant for aging.