September 27, 2011
With Raul Perez at Full Velocity
85 miles per hour. That's what the speedometer reads on the dash of the little black sports car. At the wheel, Raul Perez, one of the brightest stars in the Spanish wine constellation, drives with the comfort and calm of someone chewing gum. We take the next curve flanked by mountains painted a furious green, the steep hillsides below breaking apart behind stone retaining walls.
Our destination is Amandi, in Ribeira Sacra, one of the epicenters of the rebirth of Galician red wines. But for now wine seems secondary. What's making my head spin is what Perez said before we climbed into his car: "Why are the tires so worn out? That's because I have to brake every time that I run into police radar. If they took my driver's license, it would be a big problem."
Now, as he takes the s-cruves at top speed, as the landscape becomes more and more spectacular, mist slipping between the green and rocky peaks bringing a light air of fantasy to each scene, the dashboard lights up - something about a problem with the brake fluid.
Perez seems unconcerned. "The cars last me a maximum of two years," he says without slowing down. "I put 200,000 miles on them and I leave them. This," he says, waving his hand at the windshield, "already has 50,000 miles, and I've only had it a few months."
Read the rest of this article written by Patricio Tapia for Wine & Spirits October 2011 issue