A Journey Through Navarra

It would not be wrong if we term Navarra as a ‘distant cousin’ of their French neighbour, primarily because of its influence.  The similarity spills over from the vine variety to the whole philosophy behind the wine production. The reason behind the stark resemblance is the long French rule that the Spaniards have undergone leaving a trail onto their wine styles.Having created a place for its own in the hearts of wine lovers all over the world in the last century, Navarra’s wineries, both old and new are now working in tandem to consolidate its own brand in the international arena and showcase the diversity of styles of its 18,000 plus hectares of cultivated vineyards. Essentially known for their reds, the Navarra roses are never let to lag far behind. The new phase also embarks a paradigm shift where their whites are being rediscovered to let them make a name for themselves. The passionate Moscatel de Grano Menudo grape has succeeded in doing so to quite an extent already.

The soils diversity and the grapes that are born from them perfectly suffice the intentions of both personal and business centred projects. Looking at their core of wine making it is ensured that the wines from Navarra are here to stay and win accolades aplenty.The top ten first class division are full of both character and singularity.Bodegas Marco Real S.A. (Rosado de Homanje) RoseLovely packaging, great robe-attractive. Dry roses, some soul candy. Soft yet crisp on the attack, fruity simple, unpretentious. Easy, likable. Old school and dry on the finish.Bodegas Nekeas S.C. (Nekas Rosado 2010) RoseMild candy pink, light on the nose, not entirely expressive but elegant nevertheless. Mouth shows good flavor & deep structure, deep for rose anyways. Fruity finish with plenty of matter prior. A good sip even if it may seem a tad aloof.Castillo de Monjardin S.A. (Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay Reserva 2006) WhiteRobe and nose suggest oak, palate confirms. Old school, burgundy classy layered and charming like Audrey in Breakfast @ Tiffany’s, Great value-for-money, pity production is so tiny, Young now, oak diamonds, but the crisp lemoniness is  right there behind. Finish is a touch bitter but few’ll ever know any better.Emilio Valerio-Laderas de Montejurra S.L. (Emilio Valerio 2009) RedFruity-floral notes. Heavy rich corpulent. Super body and structure like Angelina Jolie but a much nicer attitude. Yummy fruity finish with dissolving tannins. Great value-for-money but again, tiny production.Bodegas Ochoa S.A. (Ochoa Reserva 2005) RedNicer rich fruity yet powerful wine, softened with oak, tannins persist nevertheless, very fruity with a long albeit, tad hot finish. A fairly big wine & great for the price.Bodegas Finca Albret (Albret Reserva 2005) RedFrench name and the slight green pepper gives away the Cabernet Sauvignon although, not my personal favorite note. Spicy salty peppery attack, short finish, decent but appears a bit too soft in the tasting order. Should have come earlier in the line-up.Bodegas Chivite (Chivete Coleccion 125 Reserva 2005) RedMusky-oaky rose coupled upon inky robe, tight on the nose and palates are tannic, some chocolate and coffee, shut(for  now), big wine, more time needed. Richness and strength could classify this as a food wine, a meal time matey.Crianzas y Vinedos R. Reverte (Odipus Garnacha) RedLovely, easy, approachable, fruity but nose floral wine, hot, sure but still a great sip, food or no food. This is a versatile grape for those who like it elegant and for other who seek body.Domaines Lupier (Domaines Lupier La Dama 2008) RedI was so far from calling this a Garnacha but that is more a (sad) reflection on me. Sure it’s a darker wine with intense dark fruity flavors but it is still very well made, balanced and structured, juicy and intense but not woody. Very good and complex.Bodegas y Vinedos Artazu (Santa Cruz de Artazu)Now here is a wine to love for all reasons, it’s big yet gentle, fruity yet complex, limited yet affordable. Definitely likeable whether one is a vino or not, the heat on the finish, not withstanding.

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