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Stylized image of Bernabeleva

Bernabeleva: Gredos Greatness

When the term “New California” started to get thrown around, a few of us wondered if you could apply the same concept to other regions. Is there a “New Oregon”? A “New Alsace”?

In fact, many years before Jon Bonné wrote the book on New Caifornia, John Radford wrote “The New Spain”. But unlike Bonné’s tribute to Californian producers who were reclaiming California’s older traditions, Radford’s book was full of producers who were eschewing Spain’s. “New”, for this book, meant many of the fruit bombs that had come into vogue and that were so different from the old fashioned Spanish wines that he had grown up with.

Write a book about New Spain today, though, and it would be completely different. After flirting with those fruit bombs (Spain continues to produce a few), the country has taken a giant U turn and is now reclaiming ancient vineyards in obscure terroirs, experimenting with indigenous varieties, and making wines of extreme elegance and finesse. The idea is not to reproduce wines from the Franco era, but to take local traditions and to refresh them with cleaner, more precise wine-making and clearer terroir expression. It’s the new New Spain.

For many Americans, the first producer to signal the arrival of this welcome trend was Bernabeleva. They started their winery in 2006, exploiting old family vineyards that had been planted in the 1920s. They were producing Garnacha (Grenache) from a region that nobody had heard of at the time: Gredos.

The wines were a near-instant success. Airy, aromatic and fresh Grenache that seemed more comparable to the wines of Burgundy than Chateauneuf-du-Pape, they were quickly picked up by boutique American importers and the wines quickly spread to finer shops and restaurants across the country. It sure helped that the prices were so reasonable.

Bernabeleva went on from success to success (including the founding of Comando G, the cult producer that has firmly put Gredos on the wine map), but has also continued to improve and release the Garnacha-based wines from their family vineyards. They remain an exceptional value, and we look forward to every year’s new release.

We offer three gems from them today:

Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherreros Tinto 2022 - $16.99
Silky, fruit forward Grenache from a pioneering estate in hills outside of Madrid.

Bernabeleva Navaherreros Tinto 2021 - $24.99
Juan Bulnes, Berabeleva's owner, is passionate about resurrecting the old bush vines scattered around his properties. They farm practicing organic and biodynamic, and as naturally as possible in the vineyard and winery. This Tinto uses a portion of whole cluster for freshness, and is fermented and aged in stainless, concrete, and large wood.

Bernabeleva Garnacha de Vina Bonita 2019 - $61.99
A single-vineyard Grenache bottling that shows precise balance and an exceptionally long finish.


This story was originally featured in our newsletter, where it was offered at a special subscribers-only discount. Subscribers get special offers, the first look at new discoveries, invites to events, and stories about wines and the artisans that make them.