Bernabeleva

VISIT THIS PRODUCER'S WEBSITE
VISIT IMPORTER'S WEBSITE
Country of Origin: Spain
Location: San Martín de Valdeiglesias
People: Juan Diez Bulnes & Santiago Matallana Bulnes, Owners | Raul Perez & Marc Isart Pinos, Winemakers
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Bernabeleva 2015 'Camino de Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO Login In Stock
Bernabeleva 2013 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO Login AG 91 WA 91 <1 Case
Bernabeleva 2014 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO Login <1 Case

With a modern highway nearing completion, San Martín de Valdeiglesias lies a mere 75 minutes from Madrid and its three million inhabitants. Yet, the journey feels much longer, both in distance and in time. As one drives west from the capital city, the terrain quickly becomes rugged and mountainous, the air cooler, and one begins to see signs of an earlier era.

Here, on the eastern edge of Spain's Sierra de Gredos mountains, a renowned Madrid doctor named Vincente Alvarez-Villamil purchased land in 1923. The site, which at that time was a full day's travel from Madrid, spoke of its Celtic past, with ancient bears carved from boulders to mark forests dedicated to the hunt goddess. But the estate, which Vincente named Bernabeleva ("the bear's forest"), held more than just an ancient history—it was, he believed, a special place to plant the noble Garnacha (Grenache)—a place whose wines might exhibit profound character. But the next decade brought increased political instability to Spain, and the Civil War that erupted in 1936 devastated the country. Though the family held onto the land, Vincente's dream of making wine ended ... for the time being.

But in 2006, two of Vincente's great-grandchildren, Juan Diez Bulnes and Santiago Matallana Bulnes, vowed to fulfill their ancestor's dream. The estate's vineyards were now 80-years-old, and there were Granacha vineyards to purchase from neighboring properties as well. Rejecting current fashions in Spanish wine, the cousins resolved to make wines of purity and expressiveness that were in harmony with the beauty of their ancestral land.

Juan and Santiago's ambitions were well supported by the terroir. The vineyards are more than a half mile above sea level, with warm days but cool nights, and with poor, sandy soils. The resulting wines have ample ripeness, but also astounding bouyancy and freshness. A Dream Realized. The cousins wanted, above all, to protect the unique personality of their estate, and they hired consultant Raúl Pérez, a master of cool-climate winemaking, to help them develop the project. Just as important, they hired as full-time manager a young Catalan named Marc Isart Pinos. Marc's devotion to demanding viticulture and to noninterventionist winemaking have served the cousins' vision well.

Their regime emphasizes long fermentations, and minimal handling. Wines are aged in barrels of different sizes, but very little new wood is used so as not to mask the glorious aromatics.

Reviews

  • Bernabeleva 2013 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO
    Vinous
    Rating: 91 (12/25/2015)

    Bright violet color. Complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red berries, incense and Asian spices, with a suave floral overtone. Stains the palate with sweet, seamless raspberry liqueur and rose pastille flavors sharpened by a note of blood orange. Concentrated yet lithe, with smooth tannins sneaking in slowly to add grip to the wine's vivacious fruit.
  • Bernabeleva 2013 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 91 (3/1/2016)

    The 2013 Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva is sourced from different plots of their own vineyards on granite soils at varying altitudes between 700 and 840 meters altitude. It fermented with indigenous yeasts with full clusters in oak vats and with an élevage on different sized oak containers, from 225- up to 600-liters, for one year, followed by seven months in stainless steel before bottling the next spring. The nose is very floral, aromatic with subtle red berries and no notes from the oak whatsoever. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannins, citric freshness and great balance. This is delicious and very good value for what it is. 20,000 bottles produced.