A native to the Canary Islands, Carmelo Peña Santana worked in Chile, the Douro, and Bierzo before settling back in his native Gran Canaria and starting his personal project "Bien de Altura." His goals are to contribute to the recovery of abandoned vineyards in his area, to respect the terrain and work in an ecological and biodynamic way, and interpret the land, focusing on making the best possible wine that can come from each plot. To this end, everything is worked in a very artisanal way in the cellar: native yeasts, de-stemming by hand, and judicious use of SO2; temperature control is employed for some wines and long macerations with little extraction are preferred. The wines are not clarified or filtered, and all work is done manually, from harvesting, bottling, labeling, etc.
Gran Canaria is the 2nd most populous of the volcanic Canary Islands after Tenerife, hosting Las Palmas - 1 of the 2 capitals of the islands, along with Santa Cruz de Tenerife - and peaked by Pico de las Nieves at 1949m elevation. It’s considered desert climate due to its consistent warm temperatures and minimal precipitation (9 inches/year), and has extreme variations in climate and landscape. Carmelo focuses on the upper area of San Mateo just northeast of the peak, where there are old vineyards at 1200 meters altitude and higher.
The Wines Ikewen Tinto is made from high elevation pie franco vineyards facing northeast and southeast, planted in the volcanic soils that make up most of the Canary Islands. The grapes were hand-harvested and macerated 40% whole cluster, 60% destemmed for 40 days, then gently pressed into steel tank to finish fermentation and age for 8 months. The finished wine was bottled unfined, unfiltered and with very little added sulfur.
Agan comes from a single parcel of 90-year-old vines at 1300m above sea level in San Mateo, Gran Canaria. The wine is a field blend of Listán Negro and Listán Prieto with a small amount of mixed indigenous white grapes. The grapes were partially destemmed by hand (~30%) and fermented in an open-top barrel with their skins for 30 days. The wine was then delicately pressed with a vertical press and rested in stainless steel tank for 9 months. Bottled without fining or filtering and with only a small addition of sulfur.
Sansofi is from a vineyard of 90-year-old vines at 1400m altitude near the Cueva Grande in San Mateo, Gran Canaria. The wine is a field blend of Listán Negro and a small amount of mixed indigenous white grapes. The grapes were fermented whole-cluster in a single open-top barrel, where they macerated on their skins for 40 days without pump overs or temperature control. The wine was then gently pressed with a vertical press into used French oak barrel to rest for 8 months. Bottled without fining or filtering and with only a small addition of sulfur.
Tidao is from a single vineyard of 110-year-old vines at 1100m altitude in San Mateo, Gran Canaria. The vineyard is predominantly Listán Negro, Listán Prieto, and Castellana (also known in Portuguese as Tinta Cão) with a small amount of mixed indigenous white grapes. The grapes were fermented whole-cluster in an open top barrel for 35 days without pump overs, and then gently pressed with a vertical press into stainless steel tank to rest on the lees for 9 months. Bottled without fining or filtering and with only a small addition of sulfur.
El3mento is Listán Negro and Listán Prieto with a small amount of mixed indigenous white grapes from the El Roque vineyard of 90-year-old vines planted at 1350m above sea level. The soils are thin clay on volcanic bedrock. This area tends to produce more structured wines.The grapes fermented whole cluster in a clay tinaja where they macerated on the skins for 4 months. After 4 months, the wine was not pressed, only drained and the juice was deposited in stainless steel tank until bottling. Bottled without fining or filtering and only a small addition of sulfur.