Bimbache is the name of the former inhabitants of the small island of El Hierro, the westernmost and smallest of the Canary Islands. After the conquest by the Spaniards in 1405, the local inhabitants or Bimbaches were sold into slavery a few years later. However, it is also and above all the name of one of the most imaginative wine projects in Spain in recent years. Rayco Fernández (we also know him from the "Puro Rofe" project in Lanzarote), is a local wine distributor in Gran Canaria with an immeasurable knowledge of the potential and future of the islands' vineyards. In El Hierro not very many hectares of vineyards remained. Certainly along the steep north side of the island there are still few winegrowers who take their chance. The returns are often too small to legitimize the investment, but Rayco took its chance and with great success. The wines of Bimbache are so different, so original and above all so Atlantic, so wines with a Sea injection
The small island of El Hierro is completely protected as a "reserva de la biosfera". The island is a treasure trove of almost disappeared or forgotten grape varieties that are no longer found anywhere or at least not in the capacity as they occur here. For example, this is what Parker's Luis Gutiérrez says about it: "El Hierro is a tiny island that is considered the repository of local grape varieties, as it has been frozen in time for a long time. In fact, everything is so slow there that visiting the island is akin to time traveling.The risk is that many vineyards are being abandoned, as there is a lack of young people to take over.Thank God for projects like this!They have two hectares of vineyards and work a further three hectares from local growers, and in 2019 they produced a grand total of 5,000 bottles."
El Hierro is without a doubt a patchwork and treasure chest of unknown grape varieties. Bimbache mainly works with field blends, in which the most common species are mentioned, but where there are still a lot of species of which we don't even know the name anymore. We are mainly talking about white grape varieties here, although a minority of red varieties have also been planted. Verijadiego blanco is the most common. Also called "Diego" or "Vijariego blanco" on other islands. Listan blanco is the 2nd most common grape. Then a whole list such as: Gual, Babosa blanca, Pedro Ximenez, Forastera blanca. In red we mainly find Listan negro, Listan Prieto and Verijadiego tinto.
El Hierro is the youngest island of the Canarias. The entire island is only 268 km2 and barely 10,000 people live there. The island was created 1.2 million years ago via a volcanic eruption from the sea and rose more than 2000 m from the sea. Today the highest point is the Pico de Malpaso at 1500 m. The last eruption was on land in 1793, but in 2011, a stone's throw from the village of La Restinga, there was an underwater eruption, in which a lot of volcanic ash and lava ended up in the sea and briefly a mini-island was formed.
However small the island, the north side is very different from the south side. The steep north face, consisting mainly of one black wall that gradually rises from the sea, is very humid and has a very large Atlantic influence. However, the south side is very dry with little precipitation. Between the 2 is a ridge that rises from sea level to 1500 meters in barely a few km.
Bimbache has vineyards on the north side as well as on the south side. The white varieties mainly come from the small vineyards on the north side. Here the terroir is black lava sand. The red varieties are planted on the south side where we have a mixture of clay and volcanic sand and ashes. vinification, Bimbache uses a non-interventionist philosophy. All vineyards are (obviously) cultivated with respect for nature and organically. The majority of wines are made with whole bunches. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts starts in a stainless steel cuve and is continued in a large wooden Stöckinger foeder or in French Barriques. Often with the formation of a layer of flor in the foeder or barrique. All the wines are bottled unclarified and unfiltered.