Rafael Cambra is one of the most enigmatic and innovative young winemakers in Spain. Rafael has spent much of his life in the vineyards. His family operates one of the most prestigious nurseries in Spain, with an impressive list of clients such as Vega Sicilia, Mariano Garcia, Alvaro Palacios, and many more.
Rafael was trained as a nurseryman, but became intrigued with winemaking at a young age. He worked under Jesus Madrazo at Contino for three years, studied and apprenticed in France, and finally returned to his native Valencia several years ago. He continued to work for the family business while formulating his plans as a winemaker. Rafael set out on his own when he discovered a vineyard with 40 year old Monastrell vines. Given the right vines, Rafael believed that he could produce a world class Monastrell, and this vineyard gave him the opportunity. He learned a great deal from the outstanding 2001 vintage, specifically about the amount of time he needed to barrel age the wine and the type of oak in order for him to realize the best match for his grapes. Rafael’s first release of his first wine was his Uno 2001, made from 100% Monastrell.
Rafael is as much a visionary as a winemaker, and as much scientist as farmer. He is constantly in the vineyard and the laboratory, experimenting with different grapes and innovative blends. Rafael’s second wine is Dos, which is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Cabernet Franc. Dos represents Rafael’s first commercialized wine that is a result of his laboratory experiments. Rafael’s third wine is his Minimum, which is a blend of 70% Monastrell and 30% Cabernet Franc. Rafael named this wine Minimum meaning that it is produced with minimum human intervention. Finally, Rafael states that there are several more innovative wines ”on the drawing board”, including a white wine.