A Taste of Navarra #Wine; Spain’s Best Kept Secret

By Pablo Aguero,


Are you familiar with the Navarra wine region of Spain? I wasn’t, until I recently had an opportunity to sample a diverse selection of wines from the new to me region. I received six sample wines that included a diverse selection of traditional Spanish grape varieties – Tempranillo, and Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache), and international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
About Navarra

Situated in Northern Spain, it’s vineyards can be found from the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains to the Ebro River Valley (which it shares with its illustrious neighbor and Spain’s most powerful wine brand – Rioja) between Madrid and San Sebastian.
There is an interesting confluence of three climates in Navarra (Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean from north to south). The trio of climate types combined with a range of soils, altitude, sunshine and rainfall in an area that’s only 120 miles north-south and 60 miles east-west, allows the region to produce a diverse variety of styles of wines from many different grape varieties.


Image courtesy of Navarra Wine US
Image courtesy of Navarra Wine US


Winemaking in the region dates back to ancient Roman times, but grapes were almost certainly thriving here before that.  Prehistoric Vitis sylvestris species vines – predecessor of the cherished Vitis vinifera – have recently been discovered still growing in Navarra.

The 14th Century was a boom time for Navarra and the number of vineyards multiplied to the extent that land use restrictions had to be imposed to ensure farm land was dedicated to crops to feed the local population. Demand received an additional boost in the late 19th…


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Wine for normal people Podcast

By Pablo Aguero,

Wine for Normal People created a great Podcast about Wine. We especially like episode 189 but then again we might not be the most impartial about the topic. Ep 189: Navarra, Spain

You can read the article on her website:

Navarra is in northern Spain and although a prolific, historic region, it’s not well-known. Traditionally it’s been associated with making fruit-driven rosé, but its reds are starting to come on strong and it’s emerging as an excellent, high quality, high-value region.

Fast facts on Navarra:

  • Capital: Pamplona, home of the running of the bulls (Fiesta de San Fermin)! DO is south of the city
  • Vineyards are around the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Ebro River in Northern Spain
  • Navarra is part of the historic Basque country – but the Ebro River has the most impact on winemaking here (river valleys are essential to vine growing)

We review the storied history of Navarra:

  • From Romans to Moors to Catholics, we discuss the winemaking legacy
  • We talk about the importance of El Camino a Santiago de Compostela — a 400-mile walk to visit the remains of St. James (Santiago) in Galicia on the western coast
    • 12th c – wine recommended in a guide book to pilgrims
    • Reputation for wine formed through El Camino
  • We discuss the French influence from the 14th century through the 19th c – (1892) when Navarra wines were in high demand post-phylloxera
  • We talk about the modern efforts of the DO, and EVENA, the Estación de Viticulture y Enología de Navarra (Navarra Viticulture and Oenological Research Station), in the Ribera Alta sub-region and how that added legitimacy AND created some issues for Navarra. 


Read full article at winefornormalpeople.libsyn.com 

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Navarra Returns to Spain’s Great Match 2018

By April Cullom,

Navarra loved being part of Spain’s Great Match in New York City, October 4th and in Chicago November 2nd, sharing our wines and gaining more #NavarraWineLovers.

To learn more about each winery and the wines presented please visit our “Winery” page for more details.

#SpainsGreatMatch @WinesFromSpain


October 4th, New York City

IAC/InterActiveCorp Headquarters
555 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011



Vega Sindoa Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2016 & El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa 2015




Bodegas Ochoa:

Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza 2013 & Ochoa Reserva 2009




Castillo de Monjardin:

Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay Unoaked El Cerezo 2016 & Castillo de Monjardin Garnacha La Cantera 2016




Castillo de Eneriz:

Mas de Berceo Tempranillo 2016 & Mas de Berceo Garnacha 2016




Bodegas Escudero:

Logos I 2004 & Logos II 2011




Bodega Inurrieta:

Inurrieta Orchidea 2016 & Inurrieta Norte 2015


November 2nd, Chicago


610 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605



Vega Sindoa Chardonnay Unoaked 2016, Vega Sindoa Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2016, El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa 2015



Bodegas Ochoa:

Calendas Blanco 2016, Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza 2013, Ochoa Reserva 2009



Castillo de Monjardin:

Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay El Cerezo 2016, Castillo de Monjardin Garnacha La Cantera 2016, Castillo de Monjardin Pinot Noir El Cerezo 2014


Castillo de Eneriz:

Mas de Berceo Blanco 2016, Mas de Berceo Tempranillo 2016, Mas de Berceo Garnacha 2016




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World Wine Guys Get the Navarra Insider’s Experience

By April Cullom,

World Wine Guys discover Navarra’s long history of winemaking, culinary treasures and its premier annual festival “San Fermín”.

Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, are wine, spirits, food, and travel writers, educators, and hosts. They are award winning journalists as well as best-selling and award-winning authors.  They are also sincere food and wine lovers of Spain and got the insider’s experience of Navarra during San Fermin, learning more about the region’s history and culture and meeting the people responsible for such wonderful wines and dishes.

During their visit, they were able to get a better idea of the diverse terroir the region has to offer by visiting the wineries in the various sub-zones.  Here’s what they have to say after their visit:

“Wine is King in Navarra!  Whether you enjoy a silky Tempranillo, a juicy Garnacha, or a crisp Chardonnay, Navarra has  a wine that will suit your palate.  This amazing region has a bottle to fit every budget with excellent price to quality ratio.”

Navarra’s long history of winemaking dates back to the Romans, which can be appreciated by visiting Villa Romana de las Musas (Arellano) Fast-forward to the 13th century and we find winemaking still plays quite a role, this time to supply wine for the Royal Court and the Monasteries during the reconquest.

Today, winemaking continues to be important, quite evident when visiting the medieval town of Olite just 30 minutes south of Pamplona, where the headquarters of the region (Denominación de Origen Navarra) is located and surrounded by vineyards.   Mike & Jeff had a chance to taste through the wines of Castillo de Eneriz, Bodegas Escudero, Bodegas Piedemonte, Quaderna Via, Bodegas Marco Real and Nekeas.

  • Bodegas Ochoa (Olite) – Ribera Alta
  • Camilo Castilla (Corella) – Ribera Baja
  • Bodega Asensio (Sesma) – Ribera Alta
  • Bodega Inurrieta (Falces) – Valdizarbe
  • Castillo de Monjardin (Villamayor de Monjardin) – Estella
  • Bodega Otazu (Echauri) – Estella

Of course, a visit to anywhere in Spain isn’t complete until having a long dinner and perhaps the most traditional way to enjoy the array of dishes is to sample an assortment of small plates (“raciones”) and pinchos (tapas).  Here are some recommendations for award-winning restaurants in Pamplona we visited:

Tasting Menus:

La Cocina de Alex Mújica – www.alexmugica.com

Restaurante Enekorri – www.enekorri.com

Pinchos & Tapas:

Bar Fitero – www.barfitero.es

El Gaucho – www.cafebargaucho.com


Bodegas Ochoa, Adriana & Beatriz Ochoa.

The Navarran cultural, history, food and wine experience aren’t over as we approach the festivities of the famous San Fermin, one of the patron saints of Pamplona (the other official saint is Javier).  On the 6th of July at 12 PM on the Town Square thousands of people gather for “Chupinazo”, the official “kick-off” of the week-long celebration of San Fermin, this is when all of Pamplona gets dressed in white and puts on their red “pañuelo at 12 PM when the rocket goes off announcing the beginning of San Fermin.

On the 7th, the first “encierro” takes place at 8AM when the rocket blasts and the bulls run from the corral to the bullring through the streets of Pamplona. If you’re not a runner, the best idea is to get a view from a balcony as we did.

After watching thousands of people run in front of bulls and steers it’s time for the traditional “Baile de Alpargatas” at the Casino de Pamplona where you can watch families of all ages dance and refuel on the much needed “chocolates con churros”.

After dancing (8:30 AM – 9:30) it’s time for brunch “almuerzo” and one the best places to really experience a Pamplona tradition is by getting invited by a member of a “sociedad gastronomica” a private culinary club and lucky for us David Palacios, President of D.O. Navarra got us an invitation to enjoy a typical meal of ham, eggs, and potatoes at Napardi, and of course enjoy more wine from Navarra.   Just as we were finishing up our meal we ran outside to watch the parade of “Gigantes & Cabezudos” and get a close-up view of the throne of San Fermin giving his blessing, a family favorite.



Bodega Otazú – artistic expression. Amazing collection of art and a “cathedral” for their artisanal wines.

Afterward, we continue the celebrations at El Caballo Blanco to join the international group of generations of devoted San Fermin fans –  “Los Amigos de Pamplona” – where David Palacios gave a toast to them thanking them for loving his town, Pamplona.  Now we have even more #NavarraWineLovers.  Gracias!




Long wine-making history in Navarra: Villa Romana de las Musas (Arellano).


Part of the 7-year aging process for Camilo Castilla’s Capricho de Goya.


Bodega Camilo Castilla (Corella, Ribera Baja).

Castillo de Monjardin visit with owner Sonia Olano. The winery is in the Estella region, on the famous Camino de Santiago.


Chef Alex Mújica explains how to make some of his signature dishes.


“Back stage” at La Cocina de Alex Mújica.

Pañuelo San Fermin, on the road to discovering Navarra.

Chupinazo – the official kick-off to San Fermin!


Chupinazo, private balcony view!

Balcony view from Estafeta

Casino de Pamplona

Traditional “Baile de Alpargatas” at the Casino de Pamplona.

Parade of Cabezudos & Gigantes, a family favorite!

Patron Saint Fermin.


Sociedad Gastronomica Napardi – culinary insider treat!

History of food and wine at Napardi.


Visiting the new urban spa hotel Pompaelo with cocktail master Carlos Rodriguez Felix.

“Brindis” with “Los Amigos de Pamplona”.


“Brindis” with the “Amigos de Pamplona”, David Palacios (President D.O. Navarra) and Pablo Aguirre (Bodegas Ochoa)


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Navarra Wine Lovers at Aspen Food & Wine 2017

By April Cullom,

Fantastic three days in Aspen being part of  Wines from Spain/ICEX’s 25th anniversary at the Classic Food & Wine in Aspen, June 15 – 18.  Beatriz Ochoa from Bodegas Ochoa and Miguel Montiel of Bodegas Escudero shared their wines with all the Navarra Wine Lovers.

Celebrity chefs and top wine experts such as Andrea Robinson M.S. (one of 21 female Master Sommeliers in the world) and founder of GoVino Joseph Perrulli, stopped by to taste the range of wines from Navarra.

These 90+ point wines were selected to represent Navarra at Wines from Spain welcome event to celebrate 25 years in Aspen:

  • Castillo de Monjardin, Deyo Merlot 2012
  • Bodega Ochoa, Ochoa Reserva 2010

Wines showcasing the various styles of wines to be discovered in Navarra at the Grand Tasting:

  • Castillo de Eneriz (Grupo Manzanos): Mas de Berceo, Tempranillo 2016 & Mas de Berceo, Viura 2016
  • Bodega Inurrieta: Inurrieta Orchidea 2016 & Inurrieta Coral Rosado 2016
  • Castillo de Monjardin: Castillo de Monjardin Garnacha 2015 & Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay Unoaked 2015
  • Bodegas Ochoa: Calendas Rosado 2016 & Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza 2011
  • Camilo Castilla: Capricho de Goya NV & Rayo de Sol 2015
  • Bodegas Escudero: Pedro de Ivar 2004 & Logos II 2011

Wines from Spain celebrating 25 year at Aspen Food & Wine

Navarra Wineries present at Aspen Food & Wine: Castillo de Eneriz ~ Bodega Inurrieta ~ Castillo de Monjardin ~ Bodegas Ochoa ~ Camilo Castilla ~ Bodegas Escudero

Beatriz Ochoa (Bodegas Ochoa) and Miguel Montiel (Bodegas Escudero) converting Aspen Food & Wine attendees into #NavarraWineLovers

Joseph Perrulli, founder of GoVino, now a #NavarraWineLover

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