Bordeaux native Grégory Pérez launched his career with Grand-Puy-Lacoste, and also worked at Cos d’Estournel before travelling to Bierzo on the advice of a friend. What he found in the wild mountains of Bierzo would change his life forever. After acclimatising at Luna Beberide, he launched Mengoba in 2007. Following organic principles, Pérez farms a patchwork of old vines on the hillside vineyards of Valtuille, Villafranca del Bierzo and Carracedo. Head-pruned Mencía and Godello are the key varieties, with smaller holdings of Alicante Bouschet, Estaladiña and Doña Blanca, often all interplanted within the same vineyard.
In the vines, Pérez’s artisanal work can only be described as tenacious—or the work of a madman. These challenging, remote vineyards are ploughed by oxen or ancient caterpillar tractor, and Pérez’s brand of organic viticulture requires exhaustive work by hand. The high altitude, shifting pure-slate soils, and the steep uneven terrain makes for slow and often treacherous work. Indeed, several years ago, Pérez flipped his tractor and was lucky to survive the experience. His goal is, and always has been, to make authentic wine with the most profound respect for nature. And the results are dazzling.