For centuries, the Guelbenzu family of Navarra, Spain has enjoyed great acclaim for their innovative, award winning wines. As far back as 1851and the First Universal Exposition in London (the forerunner of the World’s Fair), Don Miquel Guelbenzu was wowing audiences with his remarkably rich, atypical Navarra wines, at a time when Navarra was hardly a household word. A graduate of the Sorbonne with a degree in Chemistry, Don Miquel went on to great critical and commercial success in Navarra; his wines won gold medals in all of Europe’s most illustrious competitions. This includes gold at the Exposition Universelle Bordeaux, then the world’s most prestigious wine fair. Therefore, it is in the spirit and tradition of Don Miquel that in 1980 his eight great-grandchildren pooled their financial resources and resurrected their ancestor’s great Spanish wine estate, thereby restoring the legacy and good name of their famous forefather. But the story and the glory only begin here. In 2002, the Guelbenzu family once again struck gold. They formed a partnership with the Hoppe family in Chile, and together this erudite union gave birth to Hoppe and Bodegas Guelbenzu-Chile.
A joint venture with the Hoppe family of Rancagua, Guelbenzu Hoppe’s Chilean vineyards are all located near the village of Peralillo, in the heart of the Valle de Colchagua. Colchagua is the source of most of Chile’s finest and most concentrated red wines. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and increasingly Carmenère (Chile’s intense, unique red varietal that once played a significant role in Bordeaux, its ancestral home, prior to the mid 19th century and the phylloxera epidemic) reign supreme. In addition, Colchagua is now home to excellent Syrah, Malbec, and other red grape varietals. Recently, Colchagua has begun making its mark with white wines, too, by fashioning compelling Viogniers. In all, the Hoppe Estate vineyard estate comprises 425 acres of some of Chile’s best vineyard land. Hoppe is the bodega’s flagship wine; it is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenère.