History & Culture: Navarra also has a treasure trove of cultural history from the legendary tales of Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises), to the famed “Camino de Santiago” (The Way of St. James), historical ties with France’s for several centuries and King Theobald II, the Count of Champagne and related to the Tattinger family. The Way of St. James and their historical ties with France helps to explain the expansion of vineyards and the introduction of French varietals early on. Learn more about Navarra’s amazing history.
Culinary Arts: Navarra is considered the “garden” of Spain for locally-grown top quality produce such as asparagus, “piquillo” peppers, artichokes and sheep-milk cheeses like Roncal and Idiazábal; the “sociedades gastronomicas” (private gastronomy clubs) and Michelin-star restaurants demonstrate the region’s culinary talents; the cuisine ranges from tapas (or local “pintxos, Basque for tapas) and traditional style dishes to “haut cuisine” served at famed restaurants such as Maher and Tubal.
Variety of styles of wine to discover: thanks to its diversity, regardless of the kind of wine (white, rosé, red for example) selecting one from Navarra won’t let you down.
Diversity: There is an interesting confluence of three climates in Navarra (Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean from north to south) and this 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 for this small region to produce a variety of styles of wines from many different grape varieties. Very few wine regions can offer this level of quality white, rosé, red and desert wines all in one viticultural area.
Natural surroundings: The Pyrenees mountains in the north, the Bardenas Reales desert (Biosphere Preserve by UNESCO, Game of Thrones was filmed there) in the south, proximity to the Bay of Biscayne (San Sebastian is approximately an hour away), make this region formidable and fascinating at the same time.
Respect for Mother Nature: the region naturally respects Mother Nature given their dedication to cultivating top quality produce and grapes but they are also recognized as a leader in producing windmills for renewable energy from which much of Navarra’s electricity is provided.
Soil types: Marl, Loam, Sand, Clay, Alluvial, Gravel, brown-limestone
Altitude Averages: 400 meters (1,312 ft) on average, range from 650 meters (2,132 ft.) in Baja Montaña to 300 meters (984 ft.) in Ribera Baja.
Landscape & Geography: Atlantic Ocean is approximately an hour to the northwest, Pyrenees Mountains northeast, several mountain ranges in the northern sub-zones, Bardenas Reales Desert an hour southeast of Pamplona and the Ebro Valley in the southern part of the region creating the “garden” of gourmet produce of Spain.
Average precipitation: 550 mm (21.65 in.) average, ranging from 670 mm (26.4 in.)/year in Valdizarbe to 375 mm (14.76 in.)/year in Ribera Baja
Average Hours of Sunshine: 2,200 hours in the northern zones and 2,500 in the Ebro valley
Mean temperature: 12 C/53.6 F in Baja Montaña to 14 C/57.2 F in Ribera Baja
Diurnal-Nocturnal temperature fluctuation: 20 C/68 F
Wind influence: from the Northeast “Cierzo”
Tierra Estella: located in the Northwest, boarding the Basque Country and La Rioja, along the “Way of Saint James”. Pronounced hilly landscape with mountain ranges to the north, highest average altitude and notable Atlantic influence.
Valdizarbe: located in north central portion of the region in the heartland of the “Way of Saint James”, mountain ranges to the west and north, the Arga River runs through the area forming a landscape of gentle hills and valleys. This is the most humid area.
Baja Montaña: located in the northeastern area, at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains marked by a pronounced relief and abundant mountain scrub.
Ribera Alta: forms the heart of Navarra. The Rio Ega flows through the middle and at the center is the medieval town of Olite.
Continental climate transitioning from Atlantic to Mediterranean climate. Gentle landscape with high terraces. Warmer area compared to the northern zones with less rainfall.
Ribera Baja: most southern area near the town of Tudela, in the Ebro valley with the Moncayo mountain range to the south and the Bardenas Reales desert 15 miles to the east.
90% red grape varieties to produce 60% red wine and 30% rose
10 % white grape varieties
Tempranillo – 33%
Garnacha – 24%
Graciano – 1.5%
Viura – 2.25%
Cabernet Sauvignon – 15%
Merlot – 14%
Chardonnay – 5.4%
Syrah – 1.4%
Moscatel – 1.2%
Pinot Noir .1%
Cosecha: vintage, young wines
Tinto Roble: minimum 90 days in barrel
Crianza: 24 months aging, 9 months in barrel
Reserva: 60 months aging, 12 months in barrel
Gran Reserva: 60 months aging, 18 months in barrel
Dulce Natural: sweet wines
The D.O. was recognized in 1933 in the “law of wine of May 26, 1933 and in 1958, the “Consejo Regulador de la Denominacion de Origen Navarra” was officially formed and its offices are located in the town of Olite.
Size: 11,000 hectares of vines planted
Average production is around 90 million kilos of grapes, resulting in 70 million liters of wine
Maximum authorized production: 8,000 kg/ha., average production is 7,000 kg/ha. (50 hectolitros/ha.)
Vine spacing: 2,400 to 6,000 vines/ha.