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November 26, 2010

One thing I love about wine is its ability to transport me through time and space with just one sip.


Sometimes drinking wine can take you away from all the stress and strife of daily life (and the holiday season); one of my favorite transcendental wines is the 2009 Camino de Navaherreros Garnacha from Bernabeleva, or “the bear’s forest,” located at the eastern edge of Spain’s Sierra de Gredos Mountains.

The wine’s name is derived from Navaherreros, the gateway village to the region (“Navaherreros Road”). The bear is the family’s modern-day symbol, originating from the land’s Celtic past. To this day the ancient bears carved from huge boulders by the Celts still mark forests long ago dedicated to the hunt goddess with its ancient bears carved from boulders marking forests dedicated to the hunt goddess. The region’s Celtic past is not only memorialized with the winery’s name but also on the label which features a female figure riding a bear, wine glass in hand.

Locals believe that this area is a special place to plant the noble Garnacha grape (aka Grenache) and seem to feel a special connection with the land there. 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 buoyancy and freshness.

Bernabeleva’s production is not only 100% organic but also certified biodynamic as of this 2009 vintage.  Biodynamic wine production is a method of sustainable winemaking which reaches beyond simple organics to consider all aspects of winemaking which impact the earth (with just a touch of mysticism).

The cousin wine-making team, rejecting current fashions in Spanish wine, resolved to make wines of purity and expressiveness that were in harmony with the beauty of their ancestral land and to protect the unique personality of their estate terroir which had been handed down to them through the generations.

Very little new wood is used so as not to mask the glorious aromatics and natural terroir inherent in the wine.  The final product in this case is a well-balanced, light-medium bodied red wine which feels, itself, to be very connected to the earth from which it came.

In the glass, Camino de Navaherreros boasts a beautiful, translucent, ruby color.

On the nose, light spice mingles with abundant bright red fruit. There is a complexity to the aromatics with scents of spice and fruit weaving in and out of one another.

At first sip this wine is explosive and fresh.  Tart cherry leaps out of the glass and greets the mouth cheerily.  The acid is definitely bright but well balanced by the spice echoed from the nose and the gentle tannins.

The palate continues to unfold in a delightful array of raspberry, tangy cherry and hibiscus. Tannins are fine knit and speak of grapes, not oak.  The mid-palate expresses the difference in temperature between the hot days and the cool nights, combining nicely ripe red fruit with high acidity, minerals, and spices in a juicy way. The lingering finish is quite smooth and crisp with present yet fairly integrated tannins.

This is not an overly extracted or hugely oaked Garnacha as many tend to be. It is fresh, earthy, somewhat rustic yet elegant, and definitely old world oriented.  Camino de Navaherreros is really more comparable to a Cotes du Rhone or Cru Beaujolais than anything else.

With a tiny 930 case production & only 500 cases imported to the US, act now to try this deliciously unique Garnacha!

Click here to buy a bottle for only @12.99

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom Ellis permalink
    December 9, 2010 5:05 pm

    For the price, this was just outstanding & the article perfectly described it

  2. Ruc permalink
    December 18, 2010 12:35 pm

    A beautifully crafted description of the wine!

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