In 1923, Dr Vicente Álvarez-Villamil bought Bernabeleva, an estate in San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Madrid). It is located at the foot of the Cerro de Guisando and the Gredos moutains and adjacent to the Tórtolas stream that formed the border of two Roman provinces: Lusitania and Tarraconense. For decades, Dr Vicente Álvarez-Villamil’s descendants have fondly taken care of the old vines he planted, with the intention of someday producing quality, honest wines.
The 35 hectares old vines mainly consist of garnacha, albillo, with some muscatel de grano menudo and red morenillo. The soils are tawny sands formed from decomposed granite rock, with relatively high acidity and limited amounts of nutrients. The soils are shallow on higher plots, which are over 830 meters above sea level. The rainfall is around 628mm per annually and the vineyards have different orientations and sizes; most of which are located on the slopes, hillsides and foothills.
In the vineyard, the soils are maintained manually and the native cattle manure is added to balance organic matter level. The only treatment used, if necessary, is a dust of copper and sulfur. Winter and spring pruning and other fieldwork are done following moon phases, particularly in plots from which single-wineyard wines are elaborated.
Brunches are hand-harvested in small 12kg cases. Grapes are cooled for 24hours to favour a pre-fermentative maceration and slower extraction.
Every plot is vinified separately in wooden tanks of different capacities. Macerations are longer than 30 days in all the reds, before ageing in French oak barrels of various sizes as long as each wine needs.
In Bernabeleva, the vineyard is worked on with a respect for balance with nature. The wines produced from autochthonous varieties, show off differences in orientation, vegetation, altitude and soil of each locale. In the winery, the raw materials are obtained from the vineyard. The wines express the characteristics of the vineyards and their surroundings, and the viticulture is in tune with the environment.