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Navarra Wine Region

navarra wine region 

There are five sub regions of Navarra. Their respective areas under vine as a share of the total Navarra plantings are: Valdizerbe,( 10% ) Baja Montana, ( 18% ) Ribera Baja, ( 34% ) Ribera Alta ( 24% ) and Terra Estella( 14% ). This has given Navarra the ability to make quite distinct denominacion wines within the overall region in much the same way that they do in the Medoc or the Rhone valley. In recent times experienced wine makers realised that the climatic influence, being mainly Atlantic rather than Mediterranean better suited the balanced style of French wines rather than the California style of many hot-country Mediterranean producers.

Grape vines found here are, for red & rose wine : garnacha, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, mazuelo and graciano. For white wine: viura, chardonnay, malvasia and muscatel de grano menudo. Varieties new to Navarra will slowly spread with encouragement and assistance from Evena, provided that they stand the test of terrain and climate in the part of the world.

Navarra’s beauty is captivating. Glorious vistas of the resplendent, snow capped Pyrenees peaks, through the river laced, lush green pastures and rolling foothills of the centre, down to the arid flatlands of the Ebro valley in the south make this the most beautiful province and autonomy in Spain. If you are inclined towards gastronomic experiences then Navarra stands at the top table of Spanish cuisine.

There is a wonderful selection of freely grown, market garden vegetables, excellent meat, stunning seafood coming daily from the Bay of Biscay less than one hour away, and the array of cheeses all fill the shops and adorn restaurant menus. Hemingway’s attachment to Pamplona was not solely based on his love of the Corrida.

Only one quarter the area under vines compared to La Rioja, it manages to produce 60 million litres of wine every year from just 6 red and 4 white grape varieties. Historically Garnacha was the predominate grape in making rose wines for which Navarra was most famed until recently, when matured reds made from Tempranillo, Cabernet and Merlot began to make waves. Vineyard owners are greatly helped in this quest by the State Oenological station Evena at Olite which organises regular seminars for wine producers as well as running an experimental vineyard with mini vinification machinery to test the usefulness of newer grape varieties planted in Navarra.

There are five sub regions of Navarra. Their respective areas under vine as a share of the total Navarra plantings are: Valdizerbe,( 10% ) Baja Montana, ( 18% ) Ribera Baja, ( 34% ) Ribera Alta ( 24% ) and Terra Estella( 14% ). This has given Navarra the ability to make quite distinct denominacion wines within the overall region in much the same way that they do in the Medoc or the Rhone valley. In recent times experienced wine makers realised that the climatic influence, being mainly Atlantic rather than Mediterranean better suited the balanced style of French wines rather than the California style of many hot-country Mediterranean producers.

Grape vines found here are, for red & rose wine : garnacha, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, mazuelo and graciano. For white wine: viura, chardonnay, malvasia and muscatel de grano menudo. Varieties new to Navarra will slowly spread with encouragement and assistance from Evena, provided that they stand the test of terrain and climate in the part of the world.

Alongside the enormous effort being placed behind the development of wine types not traditionally made, the historic strength of Navarra, particularly for its Rosado wines has kept pace with international demands for fruity pleasant wines exactly matched to cuisines from many countries. No longer in the shadow of neighbouring Rioja the Navarra bodegas are able to stand on their own merits and although they were off to a slow start the future holds great promise, for barrel fermented chardonnays and subtle blends of the classic red grape varieties.

The whole region has outstanding natural beauty having some of the most varied topography to be found in Spain. In the cooler uplands one sees snowy peaks soaring above slopes clothed in pine and beech forests, pristine verdant valleys, wild and awesome canyons and terraced vineyards enveloping picturesque ancient villages. Warmer parts boast sun drenched southern hills overlooking valleys supporting old-vine garnacha vineyards and prolific kitchen gardens irrigated by the Ebro river.

In this ancient kingdom of Navarre you can still visit dramatically located old villages, medieval castles and many important shrines on the Camino de Santiago, the original and well worn path the Pilgrims took on their way to Santiago to pray at the holy remains of St.James.

Wine in any region is strongly influenced by the popular local produce, meat, fish and seafood, vegetables and fruit. Navarra is no exception and few would argue with the merits of a lightly chilled Navarra rose on a warm day, or a full meaty aged red wine with mountain lamb or goat and shepherds’ cheese. Indeed you can discover one of the region’s best kept secrets – Moscatel Muscat locally called Muscat de Grano Menudo. This is an intensely rich and flavourful wine which matches foie gras to perfection and has a long and honourable history in Navarra having been planted centuries ago ,the vines arriving via Italy and France where it was first established by the Greeks.

Bodegas of international repute are investing very substantial resources in re- building, up- grading machinery and planting new vineyards. Sarria, Guelbenzu, Irache, Chivite &, Ochoa, lead the bigger battalions while smaller houses like Senorio de Otazu continuing a tradition of grape growing that dates back to the middle ages. There is so much to see with a new dynamism running through the whole region and the Navarra wine makers are very proud to show the fruits of their labours to visitors.

If you would like The Unique Traveller to design a unique travel experience in Rioja, Sherry, Navarra, Montilla-Moriles or in other regions, specifically to suit your needs, please contact us by e-mail or phone for an itinerary or free quote, without obligation.

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