The 2019 Valtuille El Rapolao, now a Vino de Paraje, fermented with 100% full clusters with a long maceration and matured in well-seasoned, neutral 500-liter oak barrels (which might be eight years old now), the modus operandi for all of the single-vineyard reds. It's perfumed and heady, as it comes from a plot that also has some fruit trees, in a v-shape, planted along with some 8% Malvasía grapes that have been added since 2018 and have given it finesse. It's more exuberant on the nose, something that seems to define this wine that is quite unique and different from its siblings. It's medium-bodied with around 13% alcohol; winemaker César Márquez feels that when these wines are riper than 13.5% they are too rustic. 1,200 bottles produced. It was bottled in December 2020. Drink 2022-2029.
Made from 85% Mencia, with the remainder local varieties, the annual production here is just 1600 bottles. The vineyard of Rapolao is over 100 years old, with production for this cuvée starting in 2014. This is the first vineyard under consideration for promotion to DO in the Bierzo region. Fermentation takes place entirely with whole bunches in large foudres. After a 60 day maceration, the wine is aged in 500 litre old oak barrels for a year. Bright ruby-purple colour in the glass. The nose is fragrant and high toned with bright red cherry and violet notes. There is a little dark fruit here too, but it is airy and floral. The palate combines succulent fruit with a crunch of tannin - bringing a savoury, earthy quality. There are layers of savoury spice and dried herbs integrated into the fruit. Sappy and lithe to the finish, which has a hint of liquorice.