Wow! Navarra and Rosado: Sommelier’s Perspective

Wow! Navarra and Rosado: Sommelier’s Perspective
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Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides is an accredited Sommelier certified by both the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Passionate about great wine, food, and travel experiences, Cynthia is owner of Niagara Vino providing tutored wine tasting and tour services in the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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“The Wines of Navarra: Wow!” is the title of a recent seminar I attended in Toronto about wine produced in the northern area of Spain. Barry Brown, President of The Spanish Wine Society, and Jordi Vidal, Consejo Regulador D.O. Navarra, introduced the region and representatives from each Bodega in attendance who led the group through a structured tasting. Although not as well-known outside of Spain as its famous neighbour D.O.Ca. Rioja, D.O. Navarra produces high-quality wines from wineries well worth exploring next time you are in Navarre for one of its many festivals or in their capital city of Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls!

Jordi Vidal, Consejo Regulador D.O. Navarra

Jordi Vidal, Consejo Regulador D.O. Navarra

In 1933 D.O. Navarra was established. Spanning over 100 kilometres, approximately 11,400 hectares are now planted in its 5 wine-making zones: Tierra Estella, Valdizarbe, Baja-Montaña, Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja. Throughout these production areas is a diverse landscape comprised of plains, plateaux, river plains, and slopes and a range of climactic differences from Mediterranean to Continental.

Grapes grown in the region are 63% “Iberian” (examples: Tempranillo and Garnacha) and the other 27% are considered “Continental” (examples: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). Production is 60% red, 30% rosé, 9% white, and less than 1% sweet wines.

Tierra Estella in the west is about 50% Tempranillo with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Valdizarbe, in the middle, is the most humid zone where Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are planted in roughly the same numbers. This zone also grows Chardonnay and Malvasia. Baja Montaña in the east of Navarre has around 60% Garnacha vines and 25% Tempranillo. Both zones are humid in the north and dryer in the south.

Ribera Baja in the south is arid growing predominantly Tempranillo and Garnacha with some Moscatel and Viura. The warmer Ribera Alta in the middle-south grows mostly Tempranillo with some Chardonnay and Moscatel.

Wines of Navarra

Wines of Navarra

The D.O. Navarra is well-known for its rosé wines traditionally made with the Garnacha variety using the saignée technique, bleeding berries and collecting the free-run juice. This is the only method used in the region which results in high-quality selection for their fresh and fruity rosés, dry wines that are always pink in colour. During the seminar 3 beautiful rosés were introduced:

2013 Albret Rosado Garnacha de Lágrima Fermentado en Barrica: 100% Garnacha, 2 months in French oak, 13% alc.

2013 Ochoa Rosado de Lágrima, Rose: 50% Garnacha, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% alc.

2013 Castillo Irache Garnacha Rosado Lagrima: 100% Garnacha, 12.5% alc.

Pair Rosados with vegetables of Navarre including white asparagus and artichokes, pinchos (tapas), rice, grilled meats and fish. It is unfortunate that a very small percentage of wine from D.O. Navarra is imported into Canada. In Ontario today there are only 7 wines from the region listed on the LCBO website, none of them rosé.

However, there is an ongoing effort to educate people of all ages about the wines of D.O. Navarra with their free book, “An Introduction to Wine.” They have even created a cocktail for appeal to the younger set, the MojiRose. It is made with a base of Mojito, followed by Rosado de Navarra, then sparkling water or lemon-lime soda, all layered over crushed ice to get three colours. I will drink to that. Salud!

In Oakville next week, the Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) presenter is Pondview Estate Winery from Niagara-on-the-Lake, and tickets are on sale for the OWEC annual gala this November 21st: A Gatsby Affair. Contact the club for information about guest tickets.



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