Vineyard : The grapes are sourced from Juan Carlos Uribe, a vine-grower with vineyards in Elvillar. Under David’s guidance, he has transformed his vineyards and adopted Bodegas Bhilar’s philosophy of sustainable viticulture by converting the vineyards to biodynamic farming.
But this wasn’t how it began. The first vintage of Bhilar tinto, in 2011, was sourced from three vine-growers. David asked them to adjust their farming to reflect his values and at least attempt sustainable farming. It was soon clear that change isn’t always welcome, yet for Juan Carlos, change was a breath of fresh air.
Juan Carlos cares for 6.5 hectares of vineyards for the Bhilar village wines from 6 different parcels/zones in Elvillar:
Valmayor, Palos Corrales, La Revilla, Las Naves (walking distance from Bodegas Bhilar), El Vedao, and La Hoya.
Age of vines : Ranges from 18 to 45 years. All planted by Juan Carlos, with the exception of La Hoya that was planted by his father-in-law.
Appellation : DOCa Rioja (sub-region: Rioja Alavesa)
Varieties : 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 5% Viura
Harvest and Production : The grapes are destemmed and placed in concrete tanks where the fermentation starts naturally with indigenous yeasts. The wine is aged in 225 and 500-liter oak barrels for 18 months.
- Vintage 2017
The red village 2017 Bhilar was produced with 60% of their own grapes and 40% purchased from local growers. It spent 18 months in oak vats and barriques. It has an expressive nose and is very fruit-driven, with the oak really well-integrated with the fruit. There are notes of ripe berries and herbs with a spicy twist. The palate is medium to full-bodied with chalky, fine-grained tannins. This has to be the best vintage for this bottling so far.
20,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in February 2019. Drink 2019 – 2021.
90+ pts — Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #243 (June 2019)
- Vintage 2015
Year in year out, this is a blend of Tempranillo with 10% Garnacha and 5% Viura, all sourced from David Sampedro’s home territory of Elvillar and fermented with 50% stems. Lavender, wild herbs and wood smoke aromas lead you into a complex, spicy, red fruited palate with more tannin than you think at first. Drink 2019-23.
93/100 Tim Atkin, Rioja Report 2018
- Vintage 2015
The entry-level red, the 2015 Bhilar is all from vineyards in Elvillar and sourced from one grape grower. It’s mostly Tempranillo with some Garnacha and Viura from vineyards ranging between 15 and 45 years of age. The destemmed grapes fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts, and the wine matured in 225- and 500-liter oak barrels for 18 months. The oak is very integrated and neatly folded into the fruit, which is ripe (without excess), reflecting a warm and ripe year, nicely balanced with some peachy aromas. The palate is medium-bodied and reveals fine-grained tannins. Very pleasant. 15,000 bottles were filled in January 2017. Drink 2018 – 2021.
90 pts — Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #235 (Feb. 2018)
- Vintage 2014
Plots is a cuvée of Tempranillo with 10% Garnacha and 5% Viura for extra freshness, all purchased grapes. Elegant, spicy and understated, this is all about texture, aromatic red berry fruit and balance rather than oak. Refreshingly low in alcohol, as David Sampedro’s wines tend to be. Drink 2017-21.
92/100 Tim Atkin, Rioja Report 2017