Navarra is one of Spain’s most ancient wine regions. Historical evidence dates grape growing back to 2 BC when ancient Romans built wineries there. The wines gained prominence in the Middle Ages. By the 18th century viticulture was the main agriculture in the region, and when the phylloxera outbreak hit France, Navarra benefited from increased wine sales. A wine region as old and prominent as Navarra, why don’t more wine consumers know and drink Navarra wines?
The Navarra DO is located in an autonomous region by the same name in the northeastern region of Spain, boarded by the Pyrenees Mountains to the north and La Rioja to the southwest and in close proximity to the Ebro River. It received DO status in 1933, and has been improving its wine quality ever since. Navarra’s capital city is Pamplona, famous for the annual Fiesta de San Fermin, also known as “the running of the bulls,” that takes place July 6 – 14 annually. Here is a little information to help you get to know Navarra DO:
Navarra is divided into five distinct sub-zones:
Ribera Baja: located in the southern tip of Navarra; Tempranillo is dominate grape planted, with Garnacha closely behind in second; flat river plane with sparse vegetation, highly fertile soil comprised of deep, loamy, rocky soil, areas of limestone bedrock, other areas of silty loam…
This week, I’m delving into a range of wines from the Spanish region of Navarra.
This region, which is located east of La Rioja, is only about 120 miles from north to south and 60 miles east to west, but it shows a wide range of soils and microclimates. With the Pyrenees Mountains to the north and the Bardenas Reales badlands to the south, the average vineyard in Navarra sits at about 1,300 feet in elevation, and growers produce a variety of classic Spanish and international grape varieties.
Most of the wines in this report fall into that “bargain” range of $10-$15, but I found the quality and value to be solid. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.
2016 Bodega Inurrieta Sauvignon Blanc Orchidea– Spain, Navarra
Light gold color. Super bright aromatics with lemons, ruby red grapefruit, some guava, honeysuckle, cut grass. Medium-bodied, slightly creamy with plump fruit (peaches, guava), but moderating acidity. Lots of cut flower stems, some honeyed tea, grass and oregano. Simple, delicious, summer- and salad-friendly stuff. (86 points IJB)
2015 Bodegas Berceo Viura Mas de Berceo – Spain, Navarra
Pale lemon color. Nose shows tart lime, green apple, saline and some white pepper and green grass. Medium-bodied, bright acidity, a lighter, steely style with flavors of lime, lemon and green pears. Notes of whipped honey and cut flower stems. Light, simple, pleasant wine made from the Viura grape. (85 points IJB)
2015 Castillo de Monjardín Chardonnay El Cerezo Unoaked– Spain, Navarra
Medium yellow color. Nose of honeyed tea, yellow apples, dandelions and nettle. Medium-bodied and clean with crisp acidity and plump fruit (peach, yellow apple, some lime juice on top). Notes of white and yellow flowers, some nougat and honey woven in but this is a tangy, lighter, shellfish-accompanying style of Chardonnay. (87 points IJB)