VINOS DE MADRID

Bernabeleva

Represented exclusively in the U.S. and California by The Rare Wine Co.

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.

Bernabeleva 

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, or 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.

The Dream Lives On 

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 Santiagos 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 non-interventionist 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.

 


Technical Information

OVERVIEW

Established: 2006
First Vintage: 2007
Proprietor: Juan Diez Bulnes
Winemaker: Marc Isart Pinos
San Martin de Valdeiglesias lies in the foothills of the Gredos Mountains, at the northwestern corner of Viños de Madrid. Located at high elevation, with deep sandy soils, the estate produces wines unlike anything else in Spain.

VINEYARD INFORMATION

Soils:  Granitic sand
Vines: Primarily old Garnacha, with small quantities of Albillo and Macabeo.
Elevation: 700-850 m
Appellation: San Martin de Valdeiglesias (Viños de Madrid)
Harvest: by hand

WINEMAKING

  • No filtration or fining.
  • 25-60 day maceration.
  • Minimal usage of new oak
  • Organic, leaning to Biodynamic, viticulture.

THE WINES

  Fruit Source Avg Yields Oak Aging Avg Prod

“Camino de Navaherreros”

Estate vineyards and purchased fruit

~30 hl/ ha

Aged primarily in large wooden upright vats.

2,500 cases

“Navaherreros” blanco

A selection of estate and purchased Albillo and Macabeo.

20 hl/ha

Aged primarily in used oak barrels

1,000 cases

“Navaherreros” tinto

A selection of the best fruit from each of the estate’s vineyards.

20 hl/ha

Aged primarily in used oak barrels

1,700 cases

“Arroyo del Tórtolas”

A single north-facing vineyard at 800+m with vines over 65 years old.

25 hl/ha

Oak 225, 300, 500, and 600L used French barrels (no new wood)

180 cases

“Viña Bonita”

A single south-facing vineyard at 700m with extremely shallow sandy soils. The vines are 90+ years old.

15 hl/ha

Oak 225, 300, 500, and 600L used French barrels (no new wood)

95 cases

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