What is wine from Navarra in Spain like ... we ask the questions and find three wines for you to try

I consider it my duty to nudge you towards wines you might not have tried and wine regions you may have overlooked, writesJane Clare of One Foot in the Grapes.

By Jane Clare
Friday, 4th March 2022, 9:41 am

And so I’m nudging you towards Navarra, a winemaking region in the north of Spain.

It’s raising its profile on these shores; and quite rightly too.

In the UK we can buy so many wines from across the world, which makes it a challenge for any region to make inroads into influencing our wine-buying habits,

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The Spanish wine region of Navarra is famous for its deep pink rosado wines

Navarra is doing exactly that.

I spoke to Javier Santafé, manager of the wine region’s regulatory council, (El Consejo Regulador) to discover more about its delicious red, white and rosado wines.

What is it, I asked, that gives Navarra wines a little “something extra”?

“Freshness,” he says, without hesitation.

Javier Santafé, the manager of the El Consejo Regulador for the Navarra wine region in Spain

"We’re in the north, north of Spain with so many climates and soils.

"That gives us a lot of acidity in our wines and that means freshness.”

Navarra is close to the Bay of Biscay, the Pyrenees, and the valley of the River Ebro.

These climatic factors influence the grapes’ flavours, which are harnessed by winemakers to develop styles being hailed for their quality.

White wines from Navarra - especially Chardonnay - have ripe fruit flavours and a good freshness

One is the lushly-pink rosado. They’re much deeper in colour than Provence-style pale rosés.

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Javier is a terrific ambassador for the Navarra rosé style.

He says: “Our rosado wines are powerful in taste.

Newly-harvested garnacha grapes in Navarra

"They are what we call a gastronomic rosado – they can be sipped with paella, risotto, fish, or white meat.

"We’re convinced this pale Provence style is a fashion.

"We want to keep our identity and our producers will continue making rosado our way.”

And so it should be. A rosado has good staying power on the palate and on the memory.

Navarra is making some delicious chardonnay wines.

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

They’re ripe with tropical fruits, but once again that freshness prevails.

The grapes grow in the sun, but at altitude.

That combination encourages the grapes to develop stone fruit and tropical flavours and the altitude helps the grapes retain acidity. That creates a fresh wine.

A Navarra chardonnay can be a lovely thing.

As for reds, well garnacha is embraced by winemakers. Wines from tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon are produced too.

What of the future? Well it’s not old-fashioned overly-oaked jammy reds, that’s for sure.

Says Javier: “We want distinctive wines, but want to keep it simple.”

A white to try:

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 being produced in Navarra. Chardonnay grapes grow at altitude in vineyards in the Pyrenees.

A rosado to try:

Señorio de Sarrίa Rosado, Navarra 2020 (RRP £6.95, The Wine Society)

This is a bargain, and there’s no holding back on the lush fruit flavours. It’s a deep-pink rosado from Navarra, using the garnacha grape. The wine has ripe raspberry notes.

A red to try:

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

When I see “old vines” on a wine label, I get a little giddy. Old vines produce grapes concentrated in flavour. Here there’s red fruits and plums and not forgetting delightful freshness.

Discover more about wines from Navarra at www.navarrawine.com

Find Jane Clare online at One Foot in the Grapes