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Justerini & Brooks collaborates with Bierzo producer Raúl Pérez

UK wine merchant Justerini & Brooks has brought out its first collaborative wine, as part of its ongoing partnership with Spanish wine producer Raúl Pérez.

The wine merchant has been the exclusive UK importer for Raúl Pérez since 2018 and the new launch is the culmination of a three year project, according to Justerini & Brooks buyer, Mark Dearing.

The one-off wine, Ultreia Saint James’s, pays homage to Pérez’s flagship red wine Ultreia Saint Jacques (a reference to the pilgrimage of Camino de Santiago, which passes through Bierzo) and London’s St James’s Street, where Justerini & Brooks is based.

It is produced from a mixture of Mencia and other indiginour grape varieties from some of Bierzo’s oldest and most prestigious vineyards, incorporating different soil types, vine ages and vineyard elevation. The final wine blends a base of wines from Pérez’s home village of Valtuille de Abajo (68%) from two plots: Cabanelas (45%), which is east-facing on clay and sandy soils, planted in 1930, and La Vitoriana (23%), a north facing plot at 600m elevation on sandy and stony soils, planted in 1881 on original rootstocks.  The remaining 32% comes from the lesser known subregion of Valdecañada, a schist-rich area of some of the highest vineyards at between 800-1000m elevation.

All of the components saw 100% whole cluster fermentation and aging for 15 months in old wooden barrels, the company said.

“Raúl is famous for his collaborative approach, and celebrated around the world for his undiluted, authentic worldview of wine and its place,” buyer Mark Dearing said. “The Ultreia Saint James’s project has been three years in the making, and it’s been an enormous privilege to put together a wine that we’re all really proud of, with one of the world’s greatest winemakers.”

Raúl Pérez describes 2020 as a “gracious, fluid, full vintage with lacy, very fine tannins – Saint James’s can be enjoyed in youth, and it shows beautifully already, but I have personally never made a wine that will not age for at least a decade. In this case I am confident that Saint James’s can go two decades in bottle.”

The wine will be available at Mayfair restaurant Hide and Edinburgh’s Duck & Waffle in St James’s, as well as in the off-trade at Hedonism wines (RRP: 33.68 for a 75cl bottle or £71.36 for a 1.5L magnum).

“In Ultreia St James’s, the balance is perfect; there is so much purity and charming fruit, and I can already envisage pairing it with a new lamb dish on our tasting menu by Chef Ollie Dabbous,” Hide’s head sommelier Julien Sarrasin added.

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