2010 Bernabeleva Camino de Navaherrero Review – Wine Wednesday

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The rule for Wine Wednesday is that the wine must be purchased or retail for $10 or under. But, this week, we are going to break this rule and bring you a wine that retails for $12. We tried it at our weekly wine tasting, which this week highlighted Grenache or the Spanish Granacha. This wine was uniformly adored and people were rating it very good at a $25 price point. Yet, it was a steal at only $12.
In addition to its great price, there are two other things going for it. A great label. I know that I have cautioned against buying wine based on how much you like the wine but sometimes I am a bit of a hypocrite. But, this time, I didn’t actually purchase the wine based on the label but on a recommendation. That didn’t mean that I wasn’t enjoying the label – I truly was (and when I found the model for the label – a women drinking a glass of wine abreast a bear, I liked it even more).
The other great thing about the wine is the story. I am always a sucker for a good story and this wine has a good story. In the 1920’s, a Madrid doctor purchased a plot of land near Madrid to grow Grenache. The good doctor named the winery Bernabeleva, meaning the bear’s forest. The winery was an homage to the Celtic carved stone bears that littered the area around the winery. In the 1930’s, Spain’s political instability put the vineyard on ice but the good doctor’s family managed to hold onto the land and the vines. In 2006, the good doctor’s great-grandsons re-started the winery, still named Bernabeleva, to make wine from the now 80 year old vines (and grapes from old vines purchased from their neighbors). The winery label that I so admired was a picture of the good doctor’s daughter astride on one of the stone bears.
The 2010 Camino de Navaherrerro is the entry level red wine for Bernabeleva. They make roughly 900 cases of this wine every year. The wine is vinified in large wooden vats, which allows the wine to retain the fruity characteristics of the grapes. The wine was clear, with a medium ruby color with a lighter ruby rim and viscous legs. On the nose, the wine was clean with a medium, developing intensity of bing cherry, plum, currant, pluot, cassis, vanilla, baking spices, cola, soy sauce, violets, sweet tobacco and cocoa nibs. On the palate, the wine was dry, had medium to medium plus acidity, medium body, medium soft tannins, medium alcohol and medium plus intensity of the same notes that were found on the nose. Medium finish. Very good to outstanding wine at its price point.

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