What does Navarra wine look like in Spain…we ask the questions and find three wines to try

And so I nudge you towards Navarre, a wine region in northern Spain.

It raises its profile on these shores; and rightly too.

In the UK we can buy so many wines from all over the world which makes it difficult for any region to influence our wine buying habits,

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The Spanish wine region of Navarre is famous for its deep pink rosé wines

Navarra does just that.

I spoke to Javier Santafé, head of the wine region‘s regulatory council (El Consejo Regulador) to learn more about his delicious red, white and rosé wines.

What, I asked, gives Navarre wines that little bit more?

“Freshness,” he says without hesitation.

Javier Santafé, the director of El Consejo Regulador for the wine region of Navarre in Spain

“We are in the north, in the north of Spain with so many climates and soils.

“It gives us a lot of acidity in our wines and that means freshness.”

Navarre is close to the Bay of Biscay, the Pyrenees and the Ebro Valley.

These climatic factors influence the aromas of the grapes, which are exploited by winegrowers to develop styles hailed for their quality.

Navarre white wines – especially Chardonnay – have aromas of ripe fruit and good freshness

One is the lush pink rosado. They are much darker than the pale rosés of Provence.

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Javier is a formidable ambassador of the rosé style of Navarre.

He says: “Our rosado wines have a powerful taste.

Garnacha grapes freshly harvested in Navarre

“It’s called a gourmet rosado, you can sip them with paella, risotto, fish or white meat.

“We are convinced that this pale Provençal style is a fad.

“We want to keep our identity and our producers will continue to make rosado our way.”

And that’s how it should be. A rosado lasts well in the mouth and in memory.

Navarre produces delicious chardonnay wines.

They can be, Javier says, similar in style to Sonoma wines from California.

They are ripe with tropical fruit, but again that freshness prevails.

The grapes grow in the sun, but at altitude.

This combination encourages the grapes to develop stone fruit and tropical flavors and the altitude helps the grapes retain their acidity. This creates a fresh wine.

A chardonnay from Navarre can be a beautiful thing.

As for the reds, the garnacha is well adopted by the winegrowers. Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are also produced.

What about the future? Well, these aren’t overly old-school jammy reds, that’s for sure.

Javier says: “We want distinctive wines, but we want to keep it simple. »

Castillo de Monjardin Chardonnay, 2020 (£9.95, online at tanners-wines.co.uk)

This is a fresh, vibrant, tropical, unoaked Chardonnay typical of the Chardonnay styles produced in Navarre. The Chardonnay grape variety grows at altitude in the vineyards of the Pyrenees.

Señorio de Sarrίa Rosado, Navarre 2020 (recommended retail price £6.95, The Wine Society)

It’s a bargain, and there’s no holding back on the lush fruit flavors. It is a dark pink rosado from Navarre, using the Garnacha grape variety. The wine has hints of ripe raspberry.

El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa Grenache 2018 (£10.99, Majestic)

When I see “old vines” on a wine label, I get a little dizzy. The old vines produce grapes concentrated in flavor. Here red fruits and plums without forgetting a delicious freshness.

About Michael Brafford

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