Bodegas Bhilar, ‘Lagrimas de Bhilar’ Graciano 2019
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Region: Rioja Alavesa, Spain
Varietal: 100% Graciano
Tasting notes: An elegant yet powerful grape variety with notes of licorice root, violets and eucalyptus. In the mouth the red fruit shines through along with some spice, namely black pepper. Graciano is a late ripening grape variety that is rarely bottled as a mono varietal due to its temperamental nature. A rare and appealing wine.
Producer: Bodegas Bhilar is a boutique winery located in Elvillar, Rioja Alavesa, run by husband and wife team, David Sampedro and Melanie Hickman. Their goal is to make terroir-driven wines with soul, respect the land, work only with indigenous grapes, and to share their unique wines with good people with positive energy. The winemaker and viticultor, David Sampedro Gil, grew up in the same vineyards he works today. While earning his masters in enology, David started his career working in some of the larger wineries in Rioja. There, he realized that great wines are made in the vineyard. A realization that changed his path in life, he returned to his vineyards and started new projects reflecting his personal winemaking philosophy; unique wines that reflect a sense of place, sustainable agriculture, and minimal intervention in the winery. Bhilar is Elvillar in the Basque language.
Vineyard and Winemaking: Vineyards have dominated the landscape of Elvillar for hundreds of years due to its poor soil conditions. Consequently, this region is known for having some of the oldest vines in all of Rioja. Rocky, limestone soils meander through three valleys running from the Sierra Cantabria mountain to the River Ebro giving Elvillar a distinct and diverse viticultural landscape. High-altitude vineyards cling to the hills and valleys ultimately crawling up the side of the mountain toward the Sierra Cantabria. In 1999, David started learning about the biodynamic philosophy and changed how he cared for his vineyards. First, he converted to organic farming and then began following tenants to recover the harmony between man, earth, vines, and cosmos. In 2014, tractors were eliminated and horses were brought back to farm the vineyards.
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