Arribes, Spain

José Beneitez & Liliana Fernández

Arribes is a tiny and remote region in the far west of Spain, right on the Portuguese border.

It used to be a thriving, bustling place with 4,000 hectares under vine - today there’s just 270.

But it’s slowly making a comeback thanks to a small group of renegade winemakers.

Enter José Beneitez & Liliana Fernández.

I met them at the Barcelona Wine Fair, where our mutual friend Iria Otero tipped me off on them.

Arribes is so remote here that Tempranillo never made it this far west… but therein lies Arribes’ secret weapon.

The local grape varieties - like Juan García, Bruñal, and Rufete - fully ripen at 12 to 12.5% alcohol.

So you get full-on Mediterranean flavour, at much lower alcohol. The holy grail!

When I visited them in June, I saw a big barrel at their winery belonging to none other than Raúl Pérez - one of Spain’s most famous winemakers.

Raúl is doing a small experimental project with José and Liliana - if Iria’s endorsement wasn’t enough, then this is all you need to know about the potential of the place.

José & Liliana's Wines