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A Spanish Wine for Snowy Weather

Advertisement from 1930, Image from Bodegas Bernabeleva

Advertisement from 1930, Image from Bodegas Bernabeleva

Bodegas Benabeleva has its origins in 1923 when Dr. Vicente Alvarez-Villamil purchased the estate outside of Madrid near the Cerro de Guisando mountains.  The estate name translate to “path of the bear” and is named after the nearby Toros de Guisando.  These bears (or bulls or pigs) were carved in the 2nd century BC by the Celtiberians as a dedication to the sacred forests.  Dr Alvarez-Villamil believed this area would be ideal to cultivate Garnacha.  With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 production ceased but the family continued to maintain the vineyards.  In 2006 two of his great-grandchildren, Juan Diez Bulnes and Santiago Matallana Bulnes, decided to produce wine from the family vineyards.  For the winery logo they drew inspiration from an old photo of Dr. Alvarez-Villamil’s daughter Luis on one of the bears.  They began to work with consultant Raul Perez and winemaker Marc Isart Pinos.  They produce wine from the 35 hectares of estate vineyards along with purchased fruit from nearby vineyards.  The vineyards are located on tawny sands with decomposed granite rock.  The parcels differ in size, orientation, and altitude.  The vineyards are worked manually and are enriched from the estate cattle.  Beyond manure only copper and sulfur are used but only if needed.  The fruit is hand harvested with plots vinified separately in mostly wooden tanks.  Maceration typically exceeds 30 days for the red wines with aging in French oak barrels of various sizes.  Only some new wood is used.

Luisa, Image from Bodegas Bernabeleva

Luisa, Image from Bodegas Bernabeleva

Jamie of Chambers Street Wines recommended I try this bottle from Boegas Bernabeleva and I am so glad that I did.  This is an attractive wine which is engaging from the very first glass.  I usually taste a new wine over two nights but it was impossible to resist drinking this one.  For over the evening it remained expressive and serious.  At $14 I would make this a daily drinker.  The Camino de Navaherreros is available at Chambers Street Wines.


2011 Bodegas Bernabeleva, Camino de Navaherreros, Vinos de Madrid – $14
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  This wine is 100% Garnacha sourced from estate and purchases which range between 40-80 years of age.  The vineyards are located at 700-900 meters on soils of granitic sand.  There is 25 day maceration with whole clusters in wood, stainless steel, and concrete tanks followed by aging in large upright old wooden vats.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The aromatic nose reveals fresh, acidity driven red fruit.  In the mouth there are lifted flavors of dry, red fruit, cranberry and pomegranate, a little powdery quality, but definitely fresh with a hint of red pepper.  Definitely lovely.  *** Now-2014.

  1. March 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Hi, Aaron:
    I write you from Bernabeleva, the winery.
    It is very exciting to read such good comments about our wine.
    Great to know you loked it!
    Best regards,
    San Martîn de Valdeiglesias, Spain

  2. March 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Dear Juan,

    Thank you for visiting the blog. The Camino de Navaherreros is a lovely wine which I very much enjoyed drinking. I look forward to trying more of your wines in the future.



  1. June 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm
  2. September 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

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