2022 Bernabeleva, Vinos de Madrid Garnacha "Navaherreros"
2022 Bernabeleva, Vinos de Madrid Garnacha "Navaherreros"

2022 Bernabeleva, Vinos de Madrid Garnacha "Navaherreros"

Gredos, Spain 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$34.00

2022 Bernabeleva, Vinos de Madrid Garnacha "Navaherreros"

 As you may have noticed in this space (and elsewhere), perfumed old-vine Garnacha (Grenache) from the mountains west of Madrid has fast become “a thing.” Within the Grenache universe, there are precious few producers (we’re looking at you, Château Rayas) who manage to tease out the more finessed, cherry-fruited, “Pinot Noir-ish” side of the variety, but we’ve found another one in Bernabeleva, one of the founding partners of the famed Comando G Viticultores and now a rising-star estate bottling wines under its own label. As grown in the sandy granite soils of Spain’s arid, high-elevation Sierra de Gredos region, Grenache becomes livelier and more structured, with none of the heavy, syrupy extraction (and elevated alcohol) that dooms many wines from France’s Southern Rhône (or elsewhere in Spain, for that matter). This is the new face of Grenache, and it sure is pretty—we’re crazy for it here, and one bottle is definitely not enough to scratch the itch!

Bernabeleva (“the bear’s forest”) is headquartered in the high mountain village of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, at the eastern edge of the Sierra de Gredos range. Although Madrid is only 75 minutes away, this is a remote, sparsely populated area with vineyards climbing to altitudes of 800+ meters. The soils are very poor, mostly composed of sand from decomposed granite. Temperatures during the growing season are relatively cool, with wide day-night swings that help to slow maturation and preserve acidity in grapes.

The Bernabeleva estate as currently constructed was founded in 2006 by Juan Diez Bulnes and Santiago Matallana Bulnes, who gained access to vineyards planted by their great-grandfather, Vincente Alvarez-Villamil (a doctor from Madrid), in the 1920s. These old-vine plantings, mostly of Garnacha, formed the foundation of Bernabeleva, which has expanded slightly via acquisitions of vineyard parcels from neighbors. Originally, celebrity winemaker Raúl Pérez was hired as a consultant, but these days winemaking is overseen by Miguel Chimeno.

Although there are more Gredos-specific appellations that can be used now, this wine carries a more generic “Vinos de Madrid” designation, even though all fruit is sourced from Bernabeleva’s high-elevation, bush-trained vineyards in San Martin. The Garnacha (100%) grapes are macerated on skins for about 25 days during fermentation, with a significant percentage of whole grape clusters included. Fermentation is carried out in an array of stainless steel, concrete, and wood vessels, followed by aging in both stainless steel and large oak vats.

The headline? There’s great tension to this wine—a level of lift and snap that is very uncommon in the red Grenache universe. Bright aromas and flavors of red and black cherry, wild strawberry, blood orange, wild herbs, and white pepper are framed by firm, fine tannins and juicy, tangy (rather than syrupy) fruit. It’s a perfumed, spicy red well-suited to garlicky grilled lamb chops or sausages. It’s ready to enjoy now (keep the temperature on the 55-60 degree side for best results), and enjoy it you most certainly will. Cheers!

2022 Bernabeleva, Vinos de Madrid Garnacha "Navaherreros"

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