Wine Name: Struggling Vines Phinca Hapa Tinto
Producer: Bodegas Bhilar
Publication: Wine & Spirits
David Sampedro grew up in Rioja Alavesa, naming his estate winery for the village where his vineyards are based (Bhilar is the Basque spelling of Elvillar). He and his American wife, Melanie Hickman, farm the vines organically, and abandoned tractors for a horse in 2014. This 2016 is mostly tempranillo, with six percent graciano, from a 7.2-acre parcel planted in 1967 on chalky limestone soil. The wine offers clean red-cherry fruit backed by firm, fine-grained tannins that lend it staying power. Notes of eucalyptus and mint suggest pairing it with grilled baby lamb.