Blog Category: news/events

Texsom – We where here!

By Pablo Aguero,

We’re thrilled to have been part of the most prominent and influential wine education conference in the United States, TEXSOM.

Over 1,200 wine professionals from 38 states and 15 countries, including 29 Master Sommeliers and 14 Masters of Wine attended the three-day conference.

Navarra proudly sponsored a luncheon with 25+ wines from 10 producers for 80 wine professionals, showcasing the variety of wine styles found in this unique region in Northern Spain.

Looking forward to next year.



DO Navarra Booklet 2018 Download our booklet 2018

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Get to Know Spain’s Navarra DO

By Pablo Aguero,

Article by Michelle Williams

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?



2015 Bodegas Principe de Viana Edicion Rosa ($21): Crafted of 100% Garnacha; medium salmon with orange and brown hues; pronounced aromas of white stone fruit, orange zest and blossom, jasmine, dried apricots, honey, and fresh strawberries; fresh and crisp on the palate, lively and refreshing with high acidity that coats the palate and creates a long, mouthwatering tart finish.

2015 Bodegas Principe de Viana Roble Navarra Spain ($11): Crafted of 100% Garnacha; medium+ ruby; pronounced aromas of violets, baked cherries, black raspberries, and currants, baking spices, fresh tobacco, dried herbs, and vanilla; silky youthful medium+ tannins balanced with medium+ acidity, full body, rustic yet pleasing; long spicy finish.

2012 Bodegas Ochoa Crianza Navarra Spain ($23): Crafted of 100% Tempranillo; deep ruby; pronounced aromas of dried rose and herbs; stewed plums, blackberries, cherries, and currants, damp underbrush, leather, tobacco, touch of funk; rich and round on the palate, rustic yet delicious; high grippy tannins, high acidity, full body, long rustic earth finish, a great wine to enjoy with a steak.

2008 Bodegas Ochoa Reserva Navarra Spain ($33): Crafted of 55% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot; deep garnet with scarlet hues; pronounced aromas of dried roses and herbs; cooked dark cherries, blackberries, plums, and currants, sweet baking spice, smoke, damp leather, and roasted espresso beans; nice tension between rustic and elegance, fruit and earth; full body, high tannins and acidity, long juicy finish.

2015 Bodegas Vega Del Castillo Garnacha Cepas Viejas Navarra Spain ($8): Crafted of 100% Garnacha; medium+ ruby; medium+ aromas of fresh roses, bright cherries, blackberries, black raspberries, sweet baking spices, ash, leather, and milk chocolate; lively on the palate, fresh and bright, medium youthful tannins and medium acidity, smooth on palate, medium+ body, long finish.

2013 Bodegas Vega Del Castillo Capa Roja Roble Navarra Spain ($10): Crafted of 100% Tempranillo; deep ruby; medium aromas baked cherries, raspberries, blackberries, black currant leaves, forest floor, sweet baking spice, chocolate, leather, and vanilla; full body, youthful grippy high tannins that feel a touch hot on the palate, high acidity, full body, long spice driven finish; another wine ideal with a hearty meal such as pasta or steak.


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Spanish Flan and Navarra Wine #WINEPW

By Pablo Aguero,

Spanish Flan

Article by Sarah Ozimek


Flan is an egg custard that originates from Spain. It has a characteristic deep golden, caramel top and a caramel sauce that cascades down the sides of the pale and creamy custard. Now, there are many different types of egg custard, all around the world. But, it could be said that Spanish flan is where they all started.


Flan can be dated all the way back to Ancient Rome. The Romans were known for their creation of egg dishes, possibly because they were the first people to domesticate chickens for their eggs. In Rome, you would be able to find both sweet and savory (cheese, spinach, seafood) flans being enjoyed. As the recipe for flan spread across Europe, it took on new characteristics in each country. England created flan that was baked in a pastry shell or crust. In France, often chocolate was added to flan to become the pots de creme that we know today.

Caramelized sugar became a signature ingredient in Spanish flan. When the Moors occupied Spain, they brought the use of citrus and almonds to flan, and those flavorings are still common for Spanish flan today.


The hardest part about making Spanish flan is getting the caramel topping just right. The impressive, golden crown that sits atop every well-made Spanish flan starts as caramelized sugar in the bottom of the flan dish. When you invert the dish after baking, the caramelized sugars release from the dish and give you the beautiful, characteristic top. Any time you work with sugar, you have to take some special care and attention. And, this case is no exception. The tricky part here is that as you heat your sugar, it gets very finicky about temperature changes. As you pour the golden caramelized sugar syrup from the hot pan into the cool molds, it hardens rapidly. So, we recommend that you have your molds set and ready. When your sugar starts to turn a golden brown, it will darken quickly, and you need to act fast to get your liquid caramel to coat the bottom of your cups before it turns into hard caramel candy.

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Spain’s Great Match, New York City, October 4 2018

By Pablo Aguero,

Thank you #NavarraWineLovers in New York City. Navarra returned to Spain’s Great Match in New York City on October 4th.

Navarra also hosted the seminar “Wines of Navarra – Spain’s Undiscovered Gems” presented by Marnie Old.

For a copy of the presentation, contact April Cullom at

Clink below to learn more about the participating Wineries (NYC):

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Navarra Wine Lovers Returns to Pierre Loti

By April Cullom,

Navarra Wine Lovers Tasting at Pierre Loti Chelsea, May 20 2018

Thank you to the NYC wine lovers at Pierre Loti for spending a Sunday afternoon with us!  Guests learned about the region, the wineries and discovered their style of wine, sipping their way through Navarra and tasting the authentic Spanish cheeses and meats by Despaña.

Wines presented were from these family-run wineries:

  • Castillo de Monjardin: Chardonnay El Cerezo & Garnacha La Cantera
  • Bodega Inurrieta: Orchidea, Laderas de Inurrieta, Cuatrocientos, Altos de Inurrieta
  • Bodegas Ochoa: Calendas Blanco & Tempranillo Crianza
  • Bodega Otazu: Chardonnay, Rosé, Premium Cuvee, Señorío de Otazu


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Salmon Pesto Pasta Recipe with White Wine from Navarra

By Pablo Aguero,



Our recipe for Salmon Pesto Pasta features pasta topped with pesto and salmon for a delicious way to enjoy some healthy seafood. You can make it with traditional pesto or our kale pesto recipe. We paired the dish with a white wine from Navarra, Spain. Disclosure: The wine was sent as a complimentary sample.


Salmon gets combined with pesto and pasta a lot in our home.

I often make a big batch of kale pesto on Sunday. Some of that pesto gets tossed with pasta, with some extra saved for a quick meal during the week. I also like that kale pesto on seafood, so will often serve fish alongside my pasta, while offering chicken or pork to Jodi, who is not a fish fan.

Salmon and pesto combine so well I realized I needed to serve our salmon pesto pasta recipe straight up here on Cooking Chat. It’s a regular on our menu, and if you like salmon and pesto, this salmon pesto pasta might quickly become a favorite of yours, too.





Salmon pesto pasta is a very easy meal to put together. You start by making the pesto.


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Wines of Navarra and a Meal to Match

By Pablo Aguero,

Wines of Navarra and a Meal to Match #WinePW


If it’s April it must be Navarra. Yes, our Wine Pairing Weekend group of bloggers is traveling to Navarra this month to explore the region, its wine and, of course, the food. The inspiration for this trip came from Gwendolyn Alley who blogs with great enthusiasm (and skill) at Wine Predator. Gwendolyn also managed to wrangle tasting samples for us courtesy of the folks at Navarra Wine US. Thank you to both!

Where is Navarra?

Navarra is both an autonomous community and a wine region that lies north of La Rioja. The capital is Pamplona, which is famous for its running of the bulls in celebration of Saint Fermin. The wine region lies roughly within the autonomous community that is bound by France to the north, Basque Country to the west and Aragon to the east and south.


Influences on the Region

As with every other region around the Mediterranean they conquered, the Romans were responsible for introducing grapevines to the region in the 1st century A.D. The Moors had seized power of the region by 711 and according to one account I read the Spanish Reconquest began in nearby Asturias only 11 years later.


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Wine Predator – Wine and Food from Navarra Spain

By Pablo Aguero,

#WinePW: Along “The Way” with Wine and Food from Navarra Spain

by Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator


Navarra is an up and coming wine region in Northern Spain located in the western part of the Pyrenees Mountains that form a natural boundary between France and Spain with the Basque mountains further to the West. Navarra butts up against France to the north and to the south is Rioja, famous for Tempranillo.



To the far west is coastal Galicia, famous for Albarino and the terminus for the Camino de Santiago, or “The Way” which winds through northern Spain as well as France and Portugal.

Pilgrims on the Camino, past, and present enjoy the regional wine and cuisine along “The Way” and many returns with an increased appreciation and interest in these wines.

While wine from Rioja has generally been available and known in the United States, recently there’s been an explosion of imports of Albarino from Galicia, and now it is Navarra’s turn to be discovered by those on and off the Camino.



This month’s Wine Pairing Weekend crew took on the task of sampling one or more bottles of wine from Navarra and paired them with either regional cuisine or another menu inspired by the wines. The 15 participants this month sampled reds, whites, and rose wines ranging from the traditional reds of the region like Tempranillo and whites like Viura to mainstays of the global wine market like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

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Wine Predator in Navarra

By Pablo Aguero,

Wine from Navarra: Preview of #WinePW Camino plus Ochoa Reserva

by Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator

This month, the Wine Pairing Weekend crew become Pilgrims on a sacred journey this April to Navarra, Spain, home to the Camino de Santiago as well as a cuisine that pairs heavenly with the region’s wines! Here’s the invitation to participate.

The famous “Way” travels from many points in Europe with most of them converging in Navarra, Spain, the focus of this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend which includes posts published this Saturday April 14 and a twitter chat that morning at 8am PST.




Navarra’s history is intertwined with the Camino de Santiago which leads to the shrine of St. James the Apostle in Santiago de Compostela, located about 400 walking miles to west, in the coastal province of Galicia, home to Albarino (read about nine meals to pair with Albarino)Pilgrims returned from the Camino bearing stories about the wonderful wine in Navarra; Rioja, just west of Navarra, became famous this way also (read about two from Rioja).

Please join us as we explore this region of Spain; food ideas here. Many of us received a variety of samples from Wines of Navarra for which we are grateful. To prepare us further, Sue and I opened a sample of a 2008 Ochoa Reserva from a single vineyard which we paired with osso bucco.  Read on to learn more!



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Discover Your Style of Wine at Pierre Loti Chelsea Wine Bar

By April Cullom,

Thank you NYC Wine Lovers for a great Sunday afternoon.  Over 40 #NavarraWineLovers at one of NYC’s best wine bars, Pierre Loti Chelsea tasted a range of wine styles from Navarra discovering their style of wine.

We look forward to seeing you on May 20th to taste the new vintage releases and Rosados!


  • Castillo de Monjardin, Chardonnay Unoaked, El Cerezo 2016
  • Ochoa, Calendas Viura, Chardonnay, Moscatel 2017
  • Inurrieta, Orchidea, Sauvignon Blanc 2017
  • Castillo de Monjardin, La Cantera Garnacha 2016
  • Ochoa, Tempranillo Crianza 2013
  • Inurrieta, Laderas Graciano 2014
  • Inurrieta, Cuatrocientos Crianza 2014
  • Inurrieta Altos Reserva 2012


Cheers @wineloversnyc!






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Navarra Winemaking and Aging – Sweet Wines

By First,





In Navarra, two types of sweet wines are produced: the naturally sweet, in which sweetness and alcohol in the wine come exclusively from sugars of the grape, and fortified wines, in which alcohol is added to partially fermented or non-fermented must. Let’s see how they are made.

Naturally sweet wines. We use overripe grapes (usually of the variety Moscatel de Grano Menudo) to produce this wine, which has a high sugar content. Because the fermenting must has a good balance between the acquired alcohol (which comes from the fermentation) and residual sugars, we end the process without allowing all the sugar to be transformed into alcohol. To achieve this, the wine is racked, cooled, and filtered, and sulfites are added. Before sterile bottling, antimicrobial filtration should be performed to strictly eliminate all possible microorganisms, so that the wine does not begin to ferment again in the bottle.

Fortified Wines. We start with a grape (Moscatel de Grano Menudo, of course) which is perfectly mature and very low yield – 1.25 tons per acre – from which we get a sweet must, dense and syrupy, that is not allowed to finish fermenting. Like other great fortified wines (Port, Madeira, Pedro Ximenez, etc.), when there are still unprocessed sugars in the wine, alcohol is added to extinguish the yeast. We thus obtain a fortified wine with an alcohol percentage close to 15%, which is then aged through a special process. The wine is poured into damajuanas, the traditional glass jugs, which are then placed on the hills of the winery and exposed to the elements: the light and sun cause oxidative aging of great personality. This aging is complemented by three or four years of barrel aging in wooden casks before bottling.


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Navarra Winemaking and Aging – Red Wines

By First,





Classic Winemaking.

Winemaking with red grapes differs substantially from the two previous processes. Fermentation takes place in the presence of the skins, to extract the substances contained in them (primarily tannins and anthocyanins).

In most cases, the grapes are destemmed, because, although the stems contain tannin, they also add bitterness and astringency. The berries are crushed, and after the addition of a light dose of sulfites, the must is sent to the fermentation tank. From the very beginning of fermentation, carbon dioxide raises the solids, which form a compact mass at the top of the tank called a “cap.”

In the tank, alcoholic fermentation takes place at the same time as maceration of the skins and pips in the must. The complete fermentation of the sugar (if there are no problems) lasts 5 to 8 days. To prevent the death of the yeast, the temperature cannot be allowed to exceed 86 ºF / 30 ºC. Maceration gives the wine its color and tannic structure. Wines that are to be aged should be rich in tannins and therefore undergo a long maceration (2 or 3 weeks) at a relatively high temperature, between 68-86 ºF / 25-30 ºC.

“Pumping over” allows us to monitor the extraction of the constituents in the skins. This operation involves pumping the juice at the bottom of the tank to the top onto the top of the cap, exposing more of the juice to the skins and extracting tannins and anthocyanins.

Racking involves separating the free-run wine from the solids (which are also called “pomace”). The pressing of these solids results in press wine, which is very tannic and deeply colored. If we are developing a wine for aging, it is very common to mix the press wine with the free-run wine to give structure and intense color. If wine is to be consumed young, it is not mixed, because mixing provides a certain astringency that requires years of aging to soften.

Malolactic fermentation is a necessary step in making red wines. Ideally, while it is being racked, the wine is not allowed to cool below 64 ºF / 18 ºC. If all goes well, after two or three weeks the wine will again become saturated with carbon dioxide, a condition that indicates the start of the malolactic fermentation. This process ranges from one week to one month (even longer if the cellar is very cold); when it is completed, the wine is decanted and sulfites are added.


Carbonic Maceration.

Carbonic maceration is a particular way of making red wine which has a great tradition in the region of La Rioja (the popular cosechero or nouveau-style wines).

The main departure from conventional winemaking is that it does not involve breaking the skins of the grapes before fermentation, meaning that the grapes are neither de-stemmed nor pressed. Because of this fact, carbonic maceration is also referred to as whole-cluster fermentation. Whole bunches of grapes (which must be manually harvested) are loaded into the fermentation tank until it is filled. Immediately thereafter, carbon dioxide is pumped into the tank from the bottom. Being heavier than normal air, the carbon dioxide replaces all the oxygen in the tank from the bottom up, and the grapes are left surrounded by an entirely anaerobic atmosphere composed only of this gas.

In this environment of pure carbon dioxide, the grapes develop a special metabolism which begins to transform part of their sugars into alcohol. This transformation is not due to the development of the usual microorganisms, yeasts, but is instead due to the metabolism produced by the grapes’ own enzymes at an intracellular level inside each individual grape.

In addition to producing a small amount of alcohol (about 1.5 percent), a series of characteristic aroma components are synthesized, such as notes of sour candy, fruit yogurt, banana, etc. These components are easy to detect and identify, as can be confirmed by tasting any wine produced by this particular method. The winemaking technique consists of two parts:


  • The first, as we have described, is to fill the tank with whole bunches of grapes and leave them in a CO2 atmosphere for 8-15 days.
  • After this time, the wine is racked and pressed. Run-off wine and press wine are then mixed and the sugar is allowed to go through normal alcoholic fermentation. This technique is used to make young wines for early consumption in many wine regions.


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Get to Know Spain’s Navarra DO

By Pablo Aguero,

Michelle Williams,

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:
  1. 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…


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Wine Reviews: Navarra

By Pablo Aguero,

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
SRP: $13
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
SRP: $15
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
SRP: $12
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)


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Wines from Navarra win 32 awards at the Challenge International du Vin 2017

By Pablo Aguero,

Wines from Navarra continue their success in winning awards at one of the most important wine competitions.  Navarra took home 18 Gold, 8 Silver and 6 Bronze medals at the Challenge International du Vin which took place in Bordeaux.

About the Competition “Challenge du Vin”:

Each spring, more than 5,000 wines from 37 countries are tasted over two days in Bordeaux – France by some 800 wine professionals and expert wine-loving consumers.

The Challenge International du Vin is the longest running major international wine competition. It is also the largest international wine competition held in France and certified to ISO 9001 (version 2008), a certification which testifies to its established high-quality approach and the application of rigorous technical standards to its organization.

Award-winning wines include:

Medalla de oro

  • Inurrieta Orchídea Cuvée 2015
  • Inurrieta Mediodía 2016
  • Laderas de Inurrieta 2014
  • Inurrieta Puro Vicio 2014
  • Inurrieta Sur Roble 2015
  • Inurrieta Norte Roble 2015
  • Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay Joven 2016
  • Castillo de Monjardin Tempranillo Clásico 2016


Medalla de plata

  • Castillo de Monjardín Rosado Lágrima 2016
  • Marco Real Reserva de Familia 2010


Medalla de bronce

  • Castillo de Monjardin 2015
  • Príncipe de Viana Edición Limitada Tinto 2013
  • Príncipe de Viana 1423 2012
  • Príncipe de Viana Tinto Reserva 2012

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La Nuit en Rose ~ New York City ~ June 9 – 11, 2016

By April Cullom,

LA NUIT EN ROSE ~ NEW YORK CITY ~ June 9-11, 2016

Navarra’s “rosados” were very well received at the world’s annual festival dedicated exclusively to rosé wine. Over 4,750 guests attended the 2016 New York Summer festival. Wine lovers from the Tri-State area enjoyed discovering the range of styles of “rosados” from Navarra. There were some 125 Rosé wine labels from 36 wine companies and from 14 different regions.

Navarra was one of the most visited tables thanks to its diversity of “rosados” produced using the “saignee technique from the following wineries:

  • Piedemonte
  • Príncipe de Viana
  • Nekeas
  • Marco Real
  • Finca Albret
  • Castillo de Monjardin
  • Pago de Cirsus
  • Ochoa
  • Inurrieta

img_2330 img_2341 img_2343 img_2346 img_2390 img_2403 img_2416 img_2420 img_2484 img_2495 img_2501 img_2504 img_2510 img_2517 img_2528

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