Thanksgiving with a Spanish Twist. Wines of Navarra.

By Pablo Aguero,

Thanksgiving with a Spanish Twist: Turkey, Lamb, and the Wines of Navarra, Spain.

by Lauren Walsh, theswirlingdervish

A friend recently asked my advice in planning a Friendsgiving dinner – she lives far from her hometown and has decided to invite other friends to share the day with her. She’s quite accomplished in the kitchen and has decided to prepare all the courses herself, with the exception of dessert. Good for her!

Years ago, I used to host Thanksgiving at my home, inviting a rag-tag group of friends, family members, neighbors, and friends-of-friends unable to go home for the holiday. The mix changed each year, depending on who was where, and it led to some interesting interactions. But that’s a whole other post . . . .


Navarra wines Lineup

Naturally I was flattered when she sought my help and, to be honest, I looked forward to the thought exercise. My husband and I are celebrating the holiday quietly this year and I’m sort of missing the pre-Thanksgiving festivities. Best of all, I can indulge in some creative culinary thinking without having to wash a single pot or pan.


The Wines

I recently received a selection of sample bottles from the Navarra Denominación de Origen (DO) of Spain, and I thought they would lend themselves perfectly to this Friendsgiving dinner. Best known for its fresh and fruity Rosado wines, Navarra is also a center of fine-wine production, making use of both indigenous and international varieties. Tempranillo, Graciano, and Muscat mingle with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in an intriguing array of wines that pair easily with holiday feasts. I took each of the six wines I received and matched it with a particular course or dish.


Hors d’Oeuvres and Light Bites

Understanding that my friend would be busy in the kitchen as her guests arrived, I suggested she set up a sideboard with easy appetizers. Charcuterie, a cheese or two, olives, and almonds are all you need there. People can chat with each other as they nibble, and enjoy a nice glass of wine.


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Historical 2017 Harvest

By April Cullom,

2017, Historical Harvest in Navarra

October 20th, 2017 marks the end of this year’s harvest in Navarra and with “excellent” results.  2017 vintage is considered historical because it was a very challenging year due to the freezing temperatures in late spring and lack of rain in the summer, which resulted in 60 million kilos of grapes (90% red, 10% white), only a 15% reduction based on the past 5 years. The grapes that make their “vendimia tardia” or Late Harvest wines such as the Moscatel Petit Grain were not included in these statistics given they are left on the vine until they reach appropriate ripening.

Despite the challenges from Mother Nature, the results turned out to be much more favorable than initially expected.  This is considered one of the most difficult years in Navarra’s history and many feared the freeze and drought would be disastrous, but fortunately, there were just a few isolated cases of freeze and it was only the summer drought that influenced the lower yields.

Yields by sub-zones break down as follows:

  • 44% Ribera Alta
  • 30% Ribera Baja
  • 13% Baja Montaña
  • 7% Tierra Estella
  • 6% Valdizarbe

Another point to make about this year’s harvest is that it started on August 16th, two weeks earlier than expected, and lasted two months which is typical for the region. Fortunately, the good weather in the final phase of harvest allowed for slower ripening, producing excellent quality grapes.  The other good news is that thanks to harvest starting two weeks ahead of schedule, consumers will be able to enjoy the white and rose wines earlier than anticipated.



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