Rapolao, a special site, a cru in the Bierzo
Rapolao is the name of a vineyard situated in Valtuille, known for having been the first ‘paraje’ or specific site to appear on several Bierzo wine labels. A vineyard shared by different vine growers-winemakers, which characteristically provides wines of great delicacy, in the Burgundy style.
The El Rapolao site from the Michelini i Mufatto vineyard. Photo by Michelini i Mufatto.
El Rapolao is one of the most famous vine-growing sites in the Bierzo. It’s located in the municipality of Valtuille de Abajo, facing northwest, in the coolest area of the town and at an altitude of 550 metres. There’s an hour less of sunshine in El Rapolao than in the other nearby vineyards, the soils have a combination of stones and iron-rich red clay, and the resultant wines year after year deliver a delicacy only attainable by the finest, offering delightful perfumes and delicate tannins.
The vines are mainly old, planted between 1920 and 1980, in bush form and of the Mencía variety, although a small number of Estaladiña, Garnacha Tintorera and Sousón vines are also grown. The grapes ripen late here, the soils are deep and the grapes seem imbued with the aromas of the woods surrounding the vineyards.
The magic of this location hasn’t gone unnoticed by wine-making associates of Raúl Pérez, the true architect of the revolution which this special site is undergoing. Consequently, there are several producers working different plots of this wonderful corner of the Bierzo, each one putting their own stamp on the wines, while at the same time preserving its essential nature, complex, pure and full of vitality. There’s no doubt the project’s philosophy has taken much inspiration from Burgundy.