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Agala
Tinto Crianza

The best product of the winery, it exemplifies its makers’ commitment to distinguishing their products, to taking risks…
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vinosimprescindibles-agala-dulcelena

Agala
Dulcelena

The recent examples are more balanced and clear-cut than the earlier, and show that the widely grown Moscatel can offer extraordinary results…
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The vineyard that surrounds the winery facing the Nublo (left) and Bentayga rocks.
Bodegas Bentayga is the only winery in the hilltop area of Gran Canaria at an altitude of over a thousand meters above sea level. It all began when entrepreneur Juan Armas Rodríguez purchased an estate in the district of Cuevas Caídos in the region of Tejeda, on which the current facility was once a a cowshed. His intention was to become a farmer. The estate had fruit trees, for which he substituted potatoes, carrots, zucchini and even strawberries. “He was born in the pine forest of Pajonales and was always very connected to the land,” explains his daughter Sandra, the current vintner.

The vintner Sandra Armas in the aging cave.

His project changed when he had the chance to buy more land in the area, starting with the Maipez estate, in 1988. The former proprietors, Francisco and Manuel, had cultivated grapes there for 50 years, producing wine in their small artisanal wineries, stomping grapes in the press following a century-old tradition. Their results were so encouraging that three years later, in 1991, he built his own winery in Cuevas Caídas and set about converting his 10 hectare estate by planting espalier vineyards.

Using grapes exclusively from its own estates, the winery cultivates the traditional varieties of the Islands, such as Baboso, Vijariego, Tintilla and Castellana for the reds, and Vijariego Blanco, Albillo Criollo and Muscat of Alexandria for the whites

Vendimia en una de las fincas. Detrás, el roque Bentayga que da nombre a la bodega./ Foto T. GONÇALVES
Harvest at one of the estates. In the background, the Bentayga rock that gives the winery its name.

As Juan Armas told me during an interview in the late nineties, “My father also produced wine — on a small scale — which is why I knew something about it and decided to get involved. And my grandfather, too, was in the wine business. He had land in Tejeda, which I later bought as well. They used to drink it at home and sell it in bulk, in carboys, in the town of Tejeda.” This was just at the point when he was expanding the production and starting to bottle the wine.

Fincas propias
Using grapes exclusively from its own estates, the winery cultivates the traditional varieties of the Islands, such as Baboso, Vijariego, Tintilla and Castellana for the reds, and Vijariego Blanco, Albillo Criollo and Muscat of Alexandria for the whites. With precisely this last type of grape they produced their first sweet wine, Dulcelena, in 2012, out of 100% Moscatel, aged 19 months in barrel. Previously, in 2009, they became the first winery of Gran Canaria to elaborate an aged red, in this case, from the Babosa grape. “We produce all our grapes separately, and then, when the wines are finished, we decide whether to blend them or to make monovarietals,” clarifies Sandra Armas.

For the first time, with its 2014 wines, Bodegas Bentayga has begun specifically identifying the provenance of each vintage. Armas explained that the dry white from Vijariego and Moscatel grapes, for example, will be designated Altitude 1,318, “because it comes from the highest plot of white grapes that we have.”

Bodegas Bentayga SL
Calle El Alberconcillo s/n, 35360 Tejeda (Gran Canaria), Islas Canarias (España)

Phone number: (34) 928 426 047
Cell phone: (34) 649 941 098
Email: info@bodegasbentayga.com
Homepage: www.bodegasbentayga.com

● Capacity: 55,000 liters.
● Average production: 25,000 bottles/year.

♠ Visits by appointment. Guided tours with wine tasting and tapas. Fee per person: 8€.

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