2009 Bernabeleva "Arroyo del Tortolas" Garnacha Vinos de Madrid

SKU #1077411 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (all grenache, from vines that are reportedly over 65 years of age): Bright red. An assertively perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red berries, potpourri and gingerbread, with subtle smoke and mineral notes adding complexity. Nervy and focused on the palate, with very good depth and energy to its sweet raspberry and cherry flavors. Red fruit and spice notes echo on the smooth, sappy, very persistent finish.  (10/2011)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Arroyo del Tortolas is from a north-facing vineyard at 800-meters altitude. It has a soft, leathery nose with a smudge of alcohol that cannot be disguised. The palate is full-bodied and hedonistic with kirsch and sloes dominating the profile, but fortunately with decent acidity towards the finish to maintain balance. This is a ravishing, voluptuous wine. Drink now-2016.  (10/2012)

K&L Notes

Where to start? This is inspiring Garnacha. Garnacha for Grenache haters. Garnacha for lovers of Burgundy or traditional Barolo, perhaps. Hailing from a high elevation (1100 meters at its height) vineyard of decomposed granite (otherwise known as sand) located an hour and a half or so west of Madrid (in fact, many Madrileños vacation here to avoid the sweltering summer heat), this wine is so bright, so high toned and pretty, intensely flavored yet precise (no baby fat here) that you may want to guzzle it down now with a nice meal, even though the structure is likely there to improve in bottle for at least 7-8 years. Young winemaker Marc Isart likes to call this "his Chambolle" given the wine's beautiful aromatics and delicacy. A random listing of other interesting facts about the wine: minimal top soil in the north facing vineyards, use of demi-muids and foudres, some whole cluster fermentation, minimal use of sulphur. I'll take this over 99.99% of Chateauneuf du Pape - maybe even Rayas." (Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish Wine Buyer)

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Staff Image By: Steve Greer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/4/2012 | Send Email
The wines from Bernabeleva are two of the best Spanish wines outside of Rioja I have tasted in a long time. When we were trying these the buyer told a story of a customer who had these wines say it taste like Chateauneuf du Pape in the 70's.The winemaker uses 300-3000 liter barrels, uses stems which helps reduce color, alcohol and acidity. This wine he also uses partial carbonic maceration. The nose is "pretty" with potpourri and spice along with fragrant red fruit. Lovely raspberry and red cherry on the palate and a touch of astringency on the finish. This is one of those wines that runs along the knife's edge of rich power and aromatic elegance and must be experienced.

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- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.


- With more land under vine than any other country in the world, Spain is the great sleeping wine giant. In recent years, a great deal of money and passion has been poured in the burgeoning Spanish wine industry, helping to improve quality among its vast array of wines from sparkling Cava to Sherry to Rioja Gran Reserva. The most important red-wine-producing regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra in the north and Priorat and Penedes in the northeast.