The wines of Bhilar are undeniably 'Rioja' but with a whole lot of terroir-driven, nature-loving soul.
Everyone thought David Sampedro Gil was mad when he began farming biodynamically back in 1999. His overgrown, weed-covered plots looked nothing like those of his neighbours, who were sure that he was smothering them. Yet, in fact, it was all a stage of his plan to revive the overworked land, by eliminating chemicals and reintroducing biodiversity to his vineyards. In 2014, he replaced tractors with horses, reasoning that by using these to travel to his vineyards, he was "able to see the health of the vines, the soils, the ecosystem - whereas riding inside a tractor, you can't even see the grapes."
The Bhilar team aim to achieve three things in their wines: a sense of place, definitive character, and - particularly in their Single Vineyard range - provocative expression. Every one of Bhilar's wines has wonderful elegance, freshness and hints of herbal influence - think thyme, eucalyptus, nutmeg and lavender, with a big hit of Morello cherry. But it's not just their biodynamically-produced Riojas-with-a-twist that set Bhilar apart. David's commitment to sustainability extends beyond the vineyard; the cellar and winery both exclusively use solar power, and are built partially underground to help control temperature.