are many varieties of grape to be found in this region,
each one adapted to the land and the climate.
Considered native of this region. This grape is bold
on the palate and makes for an interesting young wine.
the wine becomes velvety as it ages.
In warmer climates this grape gives a wine with low
acid and alcohol content which remains full-bodied.
In cooler areas the result is interestingly well balanced.
Produces wines rich in tannins, untamed on the palate.
Producing a bright red must tending towards acidic,
with a pleasant and unique bouquet. This grape is the
most fragrant of all the Riojan varieties.
Results in pale, fruity wine which may be aged following
the traditional process for Rioja white wine.
Gives the wine a characteristic fresh and fruity fragrance,
especially in young wines. Begins to take on a golden
colour as it ages.
White Garnacha whose must has a high alcohol content.
It gives a pleasant result when grown in cool areas
with just enough acidity.
Navarra and Basque Wine
A neighbouring region once in the shadows of the mighty
Rioja, Navarra is a beautiful land with a fascinating
past. Nowadays what puts Navarra on the map in many
foreigners’ eyes is its incombustible summer fiesta in
Pamplona, San Fermin. In addition to the thrilling and
dangerous running of the bulls, the partying, dancing and
eating, there is also plenty of drink and spirits to be
consumed, wine no doubt finding itself well up at the top
of that list.
We know that winemaking has existed in those parts since
Roman times thanks to the archaeological find of old
presses and stone fermentation vats. The practice became a
big part of Navarra's culture during the height of the
Pilgrimage to Santiago (Galicia) in the Middle Ages, where
through-passing French monks would leave their viniculture
know-how wherever the route took them.
Though red wine has always been a big part of wines from
Navarra, what set this region apart from the rest of the
crowd for many years was its excellent rosés made from the
Garnacha grape. Rosés, despite ignorant snobbery, are
perfect for many occasions, especially it’s hot, and a
good Navarran rosé (called rosado) is hard to beat. Don’t
forget, for best results it should be drunk young, so just
make sure the vintage is no more than a couple of years
To broaden the market, Navarra has worked hard to make
competitive reds and whites through the use of both
national and foreign grape varieties. Now just about
everything is available. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,
Syrah, Tempranillo, Garnacha. Both varietals (one-variety
wines) and blends. The offer is wide, and ever widening.
Reds are generally a wise buy, and the whites, especially
the Chardonnays, have been very impressive. You can even
find some outstanding sweet dessert wines made from
Muscatel. So there's something attractive for everyone and
the prices are generally still humane! I have a real
fondness for Navarran wines.
Finally, reaching the northern coast of Spain brings us to
the Basque Country where the friendly Txacolí wine reigns
as the local specialty. its a tasty light, mainly white
wine which often possesses a touch of natural carbonation
to it. There are three tiny regions there whose names are
nearly unpronounceable, so I will spare you the time and
effort. Just remember Txacolí (sometimes spelt chacolí)
pronounced Cha-ko-LEE. its not terribly easy to find
outside the Basque Country, so don't let go of the bottle
if you come across one.