Bernabeleva Cantocuerdas Albillo 2019

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Robert Parker/Wine Advocate – It wants to show the character of Albillo Real in the village of San Martín de Valdeiglesias, where the old organically farmed vines from three different plots are located. The soils are granite-based. The three different vineyards were fermented separately with different maceration times, one of them with the full clusters. It then aged in used oak barrels for some nine months. One-third of the wine had contact with the skins, but today the nose was more reductive in a flinty, struck match way, with some lees. The palate revealed very good balance, with very fine tannins. Winemaker Marc Isart told me they are finally getting to understand Albillo, which behaves better in warmer years. I like the seriousness of this Albillo very much.

About This Wine

Organic. The rebooted whites of Madrid have opened our eyes and palates to one of Spanish wines’ best-kept secrets, Albillo. Juan Bulnes is passionate about this re-emerging variety with a history in the region that may date back to the 8th century. Judging by the examples we have tasted, it’s a passion well-founded! Suffering the same fate as just about every other shy-bearing and characterful indigenous grape variety around the globe, the once prized Albillo has found itself side-lined in favour of more profitable, high-yielding varieties. Its comeback is long overdue. It’s worth noting that Albillo once played a role—similar to that of Viognier in Côte Rôtie—in Vega Sicilia’s Unico blend.

This wine, however, shows what can be achieved when it stands alone. It comes entirely from three parcels of 85- to 100-year-old vines growing in the granitic sands of the Cantocuerdas vineyard—named after the large granite boulders that are strewn across the landscape. Each parcel is fermented separately and undergoes longish macerations (60 days in the case of one vat), and the wine is matured in used barriques for nine months. Textured, earthy and pure, this wine is often slow to unfurl in the glass, but it is well worth the wait.

Type White Wine
Varietal(s) Albillo Real
Country Spain
Region Madrid
Brand Bernabeleva
Vintage 2019

Wines of Spain

With 2.9 million acres of land planted in wine grapes, Spain is the most widely planted wine producing nation and second largest producer in the world. Many styles of wine are produced in the country most of which are based on native grape varietals.

The two most famous regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero for their Tempranillo production. Rioja Tempranillo (the classic) will be lighter and fresher with red fruit flavours as compared to those from Ribera del Duero that are often deep purple, higher in alcohol with more tannins and intense black fruit character. Rioja is also known for producing Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from the indigenous Viura varietal.

In the Catalonia region, Spain is recognized for making a sparkling wine in the traditional method but using native grape varieties. This is called Cava. Priorat, a subregion within Catalonia specializes in making still red blends of Garnacha, Carignan and often Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in a bold and full-bodied style. Together with Rioja, wines from Priorat have achieved DOCa/DOQ status signifying their quality.

Sherry is Spain’s famous fortified wine which can either be completely dry, lusciously sweet or somewhere in between. This is made in the southern region of Jerez.

Other notable Spanish wine styles include: Monastrell (AKA. Mataro/Mourvèdre), produced in the Jumilla region and refreshing white Albariño and Verdejo from north western Galacia.

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