By Rose Jones
HARD work, luck and a little Axarquia magic have allowed a young, family-run winery near Sayalonga to overcome the recession and enjoy adventurous international success.
The position of Bodegas Bentomiz is breathtakingly beautiful, with the magnificent Sierra Tejeda dominating the skyline to the north and south looking down to the coast.
Here, Clara Verheij and Andre Both have rescued the abandoned vineyard above which they built their home.
Recognising the enormous potential of the local Moscatel de Alejandria vines, they have had rave reviews from wine journalists and sommeliers and are now selling their wines in no less than 20 Michelin-starred restaurants around Europe.
The Axarquia’s unique terroir such as the vineyards steep slopes and the closeness of the sea – all provide an ideal microclimate for the grapes.
The vines – some over 100 years old – are grown in hollows, to collect water, and are cut back to bushes, so that the leaves protect the maturing grapes from that scorching summer sun.
They make naturally sweet wines in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. They also produce a red from a blend of grapes: Petit Verdot, Tempranillo and Rome, a little known vine indigenous to the Axarquia.
They named their aromatic wines Ariyanas, after a nearby Moorish hamlet, which comes from the Arabic word for aromatic.
The pair got their wine known by attending European wine fairs and celebrated restaurants, getting an 85% success rate. “If the sommelier tried our wine, the restaurant purchased it!” says Clara.
For a tour call 952115939 or visit www.bodegasbentomiz.com