Phinca Hapa blanco
Vineyard : The wine is made from Viura grapes grown in the white limestone Hapa vineyard which Melanie acquired in 2015. Located north of Elvillar, the plots are South-East facing and have been undergoing biodynamic conversion from the first day they signed the acquisition This vineyard is planted with Viura (higher part) and Tempranillo. Most of the vines are 35-50 years old.
In addition to careful vineyard management, the duo has embarked on a project of replanting a very large quantity of plants endogenous to the area.
The other grapes (Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia) are sourced from their Estate vineyard near the winery.
Appellation : DOCa Rioja (sub-region: Rioja Alavesa)
Varieties : 82% Viura, 12% Garnacha Blanca, 6% Malvasia.
Harvest and Production : This artisanal wine is hand harvested in 10 kilo cases following a rigorous selection in the vineyard. Full clusters are spontaneously fermented in concrete vats with indigenous yeasts for 2 months. The carbonic maceration leads to a slow fermentation lasting close to 6 weeks. The wine is then pressed and placed in 600L French foudres for 1 year.
- Fermented with whole clusters and made without sulphur until bottling, this is the sort of wine that confounds local bureaucrats in Rioja but finds favour with more open-minded tasters who recognise its brilliance. Sappy, chalky and slightly tannic, with notes of quince, black tea and fresh bread, this is mind-bogglingly complex. 2021-28
Wine of the Year
96/100 Tim Atkin, Rioja Report 2020
- The white 2017 Phinca Hapa Blanco has some notes of popcorn and a spicy and smoky twist, but it’s very different from the other white I tasted. This is from a vineyard that Melanie bought with her savings and then renamed it after her dog. The wine had some skin contact, so it has a faint golden color and a slightly tannic palate. It’s a blend of 82% Viura, 12% Garnacha Blanca and 6% Malvasía from a large vineyard in the village of Elvillar. This is a white of strong character, with notes of quince, peach and beeswax, the texture of a light red that calls for food. 2,500 bottles produced. It was bottled in November 2018. Drink 2019 – 2023.
93 pts — Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #243 (June 2019)
2016 Vintage (First vintage for this wine)
- Phinca Hapa is an exciting new project run by American Melanie Hickman, who is the partner of David Sampedro. This is an orange wine made with skin contact from an old vine parcel of Viura and Malvasía planted high above the village of Elvillar. Complex and challenging, it has lovely quince, orange marmalade and black tea notes. Drink 2018-21
92/100 Tim Atkin, Rioja Report 2018
- The white 2016 Phinca Hapa Blanco is from a vineyard Melanie bought with her savings and renamed after her dog. The vineyard, in the village of Elvillar, consists of three hectares of white limestone soils planted in 1967 with Viura grapes (and Tempranillo in the lower parts). The wine is a blend of Viura with some 12% Garnacha Blanca and 6% Malvasía Riojana from the ripe grapes picked after they pick the grapes for their basic Bhilar white. The destemmed grapes fermented with skins in a 2,000-liter concrete vat for two months, and the wine spent one year in 600-liter French foudres. As a result, the wine has an amber color with a characterful nose mixing notes of balsam, quince, peach and honey—quite original and different. The palate has a texture that could be from a light red, with fine tannins and a chalky sensation that is a texture more than a flavor. One white for white meat. 2,300 bottles were filled in November 2017. Drink 2018 – 2026.
92 pts — Luis Gutiérrez, The Wine Advocate #235 (Feb. 2018)