Wines of Navarra, more than just rosado wine

Apr 02, 12 Wines of Navarra, more than just rosado wine

Posted by in Spain

I’m quite familiar with the wines of Navarra, they’re all about rosé wines, right? Yes and no. Turns out there’s a lot more to the region then their robustly coloured rosado wines. The Wines of Navarra were in town last week to promote the region and give, me at least, a taster of their wines. Turns out they have been producing wine for centuries, going back to the 10th century and their wines flourished throughout Spain for many years in part thanks, to their position on the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Campostela, Navarra being identified with their rosado wines made from the garnacha grape. I do like the rosados of Navarra – full bodied and spicy, brightly coloured but dry, these are certainly not your wimpy, sweet California Blossom Hill style rose wines. That’s probably why I like them, wines that were made to quench your thirst as well as be served up with a rustic meal of jamon and cheese with a hunk of bread on the side. I found out though, that since the 1990’s Navarra has undergone a sea change in wine making, not abandoning the rosados but adding international grape varieties like chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. What was most interesting was that these grape varieties had existed in Navarra in the past due to the large French influence of Bordeaux winemakers in the 19th century but had been lost when phylloxera hit the region in the late 1800’s. They still of course grow the traditional viura, tempranillo and garnacha but now are able to blend in the international varieties if they so desire. I tasted a chardonnay/viura blend, full of tropical fruit but having a nice dry finish as well as discovering the latest addition to the region, sauvignon blanc. I spoke to the Consul General of the region, Jordi Vidal, and he told me that sauvingnon blanc is the next big thing in the region. He cited the milder climate of the region which produces good acidity...

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Latest podcast- Japanese koshu, Rioja and the wines of Navarra

Mar 26, 12 Latest podcast- Japanese koshu, Rioja and the wines of Navarra

Posted by in Asia, Podcast, Spain

This episode features one of Japan’s few female winemakers, Ayana Misawa, 5th generation winemaker for Grace winery (“Chuo Budoshu” in Japanese). I met Ayana at the annual Koshu of Japan tasting, held in London in late February 2012 and she sat down to tell me a bit more about the history of the koshu grape in Japan. In the UK market, Rioja is one of the most reliable and dependable wines around. However, the Spanish have woken up to the fact that they need to innovate and I met up with the winemaker for one of the centenary wineries of Rioja, Bodagas Bilbainas. Rioja has a number of wineries that are over one hundred years old but that hasn’t stopped them from looking at innovative or different ways of making their wine. Diego Pinella Navarro, head wine maker, is part of the new generation taking Rioja wines into the future. Lastly, I move up a bit further north to the wines of Navarra. Navarra is situated just north of Rioja but other then the rosés of the region, most people don’t know much about the wines. I chatted with the Consul General of the D.O.  Jordi Vidal when he was in London last week to find out more about what’s going on there, both with the traditional varieties they have always used as well as some newer ones. And, the regions wine making connections with France…. Any questions or comments, just leave me a note in the comment section. Find the podcast on iTunes: or Podomatic if you don’t have iTunes: Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Benjamin Romeo’s wines of Rioja

The wines of Rioja are very well known in the UK. Largely known for being rich, heavily oaked wines, the regions has recently been infused with new blood and these young winemakers are now making more modern and fresh wines.  Benjamin Romeo is one of those forward looking winemakers and his assistant winemaker, Allende Perez-Medrano (no relation) was in London recently to showcase his wines. I had a chat with her and we had a quick tasting of a wine Benjamin makes in honour of his father, the La Vina Andres Benjamin Romeo, 2002. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Spanish roses for an Indian summer

Indian summer. Why do they call it Indian summer? Summers in India are hot as hell, not to mention wet, it being monsoon season and all. I did a bit of research (ok, looked on Wikipedia) and among the various meanings, this one seemed just as good as any of the others: …the term originated from raids on European colonies by Indian war parties; these raids usually ended in autumn, hence the extension to summer-like weather in the fall as an Indian summer…. That seems to be just as believable as any of the other definitions. So Indian summer not only means it’s still nice and sunny but that means that it’s still rosé weather! It’s no longer hot (not that it ever really got hot this summer) nor have the icy fingers of winter crept down my collar so what better wine to drink then a fresh and fruit driven yet dry rosé. I like rosés because they are so versatile as I’ve said many times and the rosés of Rioja tick all the boxes for a truly delightful drinking experience. Rioja is a big producer of  rosés and they are made up primarily of grenache and tempranillo, both varietals which produce dark red wines so it’s no surprise that Riojan rosés are usually quite dark in colour. I had 4 sent to me to try and they all had the roughly the same characteristics. Dry yet with a fabulous red fruit character, they are perfect food wines, matching with everything from tapas to BBQ. The Campo Viejo Tempranillo rosé is made from 100% tempranillo and is a fresh and funky rosé with plenty of bright red fruits on the nose and palate but no residual sugar. It’s closed with a screwcap so it’s a handle bottle to take along to the park and perfect with snacks. Marques de Vitoria rosé is another 100% tempranill and is a dry and fresh wine, light body but plenty of strawberry and red currant rolling around...

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Toro!toro!toro! – sippin’ on the bull at the LIWF, video

Tinta de Toro. Wine of the Bull? Is that like the Hungarian wine, Bull’s blood? The origins of the name may be lost in the mists of time but I can tell you that tinta de toro is a local varietal found in the western half of Spain, near the town of Zamora. It’s thought that the varietal is an adaptation of that traditional Spanish varietal, tempranillo. Tempranillo does go by so many names, ojo de liebre, tinto fino, tinto del pais, ulle de llebre and tinto roriz (in Portugal) to name a few. The province of Zamora, where the D.O. Toro is located is in the extreme western part of the region of Castillo Y Leon in western Spain, near the border with Portugal. As a matter of fact, the river Duero (or Douro as it’s known in Portugal) cuts through the region.  The D.O.Toro vineyards are in the southeastern part of the province. The region was demarcated in 1987 but they’ve been growing grapes there since Roman times and the wines were quite prized during the Middle Ages and beyond, even being sent on ships to the New World to sustain the conquistadores on the tough job of subduing the natives.  There are currently 8000 hectares under cultivation. Toro is best known for it’s tinta de toro but they also grow malvasia, garnacha and the white varietal, verdejo. The Tinta de Toro red wines are known for being lusher and richer versions of tempranillo due to the vineyards more southernly situation.  Whilst wandering around the London International Wine Fair with Gabriella of Catavino, we came across the Munia brand of tinto de toro and decided to give them a try, the video says it all…. [viddler id=64f1ab91&w=437&h=333] Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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