Bernabeleva

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Country of Origin: Spain
Location: San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Madrid
People: Juan Diez Bulnes & Santiago Matallana Bulnes, Owners | Marc Isart Pinos, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Items

Bernabeleva 2020 'Camino de Navaherreros' Blanco, Vinos de Madrid Login In Stock
Bernabeleva 2020 'Camino de Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO Login In Stock
Bernabeleva 2019 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO Login WA 92 <1 Case
Bernabeleva 2020 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO Login In Stock
Bernabeleva 2019 Garnacha, Arroyo del Tortolas, Vinos de Madrid DO Login WA 93+ <1 Case
Bernabeleva 2020 Garnacha, Arroyo del Tortolas, Vinos de Madrid DO Login In Stock
Bernabeleva 2020 Garnacha, Vina Bonita, Vinos de Madrid DO Login In Stock

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—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.

Vinous 2/9/2021
"This bodega, established in 1923, is today one of Spain’s most dynamic producers. Winemaker Marc Isart produces a range of complex, highly perfumed wines that smoothly play power off finesse, in a style that’s reminiscent of the best producers of France’s southern Rhône valley. Isart focuses squarely on Grenache for reds, with a handful of intriguing whites thrown into the mix. Minimal intervention is the byword here, using grapes sourced from the estate’s 35 hectares of organically and biodynamically farmed, low-yielding bush vines. Fermentations and aging take place in used oak, concrete and stainless steel vessels, followed by bottling without fining or filtration. There’s often an intriguing wildness to these wines, but never any sense of rusticity, and their tannic structures are on the delicate side, making them enjoyable soon after release, at the top level as well as at the entry level of the range."

Reviews

  • Bernabeleva 2019 'Navaherreros' Garnacha, Vinos de Madrid DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 92 (11/11/2021)

    The San Martín de Valdeiglesias village red 2019 Navaherreros Garnacha de Bernabeleva was produced with Garnacha from different vineyards on the Bernabeleva property, all between 50 and 90 years of age at 700 to 840 meters in altitude on granite soils, which are being transformed to organic. This comes from a warm and dry year but not as ripe as 2017. There was a slight advance in the harvest, and the wine resulted in 14.6% alcohol but kept very good freshness parameters. It fermented with some 75% stems and the rest pressed directly and had very soft and long macerations of up to 65 days. It matured in used barrels of different sizes for one year. It has a very attractive nose of red berries and wild herbs, a vibrant palate with very fine tannins and the sparkling sensation of the granularity from the granite soils where the vines grow.
  • Bernabeleva 2019 Garnacha, Arroyo del Tortolas, Vinos de Madrid DO
    The Wine Advocate
    Rating: 93+ (11/11/2021)

    The ripest of the single vineyard reds, the 2019 Arroyo del Tórtolas comes from an organically but not certified 67-year-old vineyard at 800 meters in altitude on sandy granite soils that are rich in iron. The whole clusters fermented in an oak vat with a very long and soft maceration at less than 25 degrees Celsius. It matured in well-seasoned, neutral barrels of different sizes for one year followed by some time in tank until bottling. In 2019 the three single-vineyard reds go back to their true character, and this one shows juicy berries and deep ripe flavors, some 14.66% alcohol and good freshness. The tannins are fine and quite round, reflecting good ripeness. There is balance and no excess.