Wine Reviews: Navarra

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 07-23-2017

This week, I’m delving into a range of wines from the Spanish region of Navarra.

This region, which is located east of La Rioja, is only about 120 miles from north to south and 60 miles east to west, but it shows a wide range of soils and microclimates. With the Pyrenees Mountains to the north and the Bardenas Reales badlands to the south, the average vineyard in Navarra sits at about 1,300 feet in elevation, and growers produce a variety of classic Spanish and international grape varieties.

Most of the wines in this report fall into that “bargain” range of $10-$15, but I found the quality and value to be solid. These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2016 Bodega Inurrieta Sauvignon Blanc Orchidea - Spain, Navarra
SRP: $13
Light gold color. Super bright aromatics with lemons, ruby red grapefruit, some guava, honeysuckle, cut grass. Medium-bodied, slightly creamy with plump fruit (peaches, guava), but moderating acidity. Lots of cut flower stems, some honeyed tea, grass and oregano. Simple, delicious, summer- and salad-friendly stuff. (86 points IJB)

2015 Bodegas Berceo Viura Mas de Berceo - Spain, Navarra
SRP: $15
Pale lemon color. Nose shows tart lime, green apple, saline and some white pepper and green grass. Medium-bodied, bright acidity, a lighter, steely style with flavors of lime, lemon and green pears. Notes of whipped honey and cut flower stems. Light, simple, pleasant wine made from the Viura grape. (85 points IJB)

2015 Castillo de Monjardín Chardonnay El Cerezo Unoaked- Spain, Navarra
SRP: $12
Medium yellow color. Nose of honeyed tea, yellow apples, dandelions and nettle. Medium-bodied and clean with crisp acidity and plump fruit (peach, yellow apple, some lime juice on top). Notes of white and yellow flowers, some nougat and honey woven in but this is a tangy, lighter, shellfish-accompanying style of Chardonnay. (87 points IJB)

nPhHr9vIjsHeSpVX6KXjvDDom1Dx-3norGwjHWGd4rMpX92IB2016 Bodegas Ochoa Garnacha Calendas Rosado- Spain, Navarra
SRP: $15
Light watermelon color. Nose shows watermelon, white cherries, notes of cinnamon candy and nettle. Bold and juicy but very bright and crisp of white cherries, strawberries, watermelon, plump but tart fruit. Laced with honeysuckle, rose petal, raspberry leaf tea, honeyed notes. Some chalky mineral elements linger on the finish. So good for the price! (88 points)

2015 Castillo de Monjardín Garnacha La Cantera- Spain, Navarra
SRP: $15
Medium ruby colored. Nose of juicy red cherries, lots of spicy tobacco, pepper, sage and desert brush. Medium-bodied, light tannin, medium acidity, this is a fresh and easy-drinking wine but it shows lots of cherry fruit mixed with a fun mix of tobacco, sage, pepper, some sweeter cola and coffee notes. Lighter-styled for grill-outs and summer drinking. (86 points IJB)

2015 Bodegas Berceo Tempranillo Mas de Berceo- Spain, Navarra
SRP: $15
Deep ruby/light purple color.  Nose shows tangy red and black plums with spicy pepper, sweet cola, leather. Medium+ bodied with light tannins and moderate acidity tangy red and black fruit but plenty of juicy ripeness. Soot, campfire, coffee and cola notes on the finish, drink now, this is a fun, delicious, grill-friendly Tempranillo at a solid price. (87 points IJB)

2011 Bodegas Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza- Spain, Navarra
SRP: $23
Light purple color. Aromas of red plums, red and black cherries, tobacco smoke, charcoal and spicy pepper. Medium-bodied with velvety tannins, decent structure, medium acidity. Plenty of juicy red and black plums and cherries, mixed with notes of tobacco, charcoal, leather. Still a few years ahead but this would be good now with grilled meat and veg. (87 points IJB)

N.V. Camilo Castilla Navarra Capricho de Goya – Spain, Navarra
SRP: $29/500ml
An auburn/rich brown color. Nose of raisins, roasted figs, musk cologne, sweet cola, brown sugar, pepper. Full-bodied but sports moderate acidity (some volatile acidity) and moderate alcohol (16%), the sugar is balanced quite nicely. Roasted figs, candied apples, yellow raisin, mixed with pepper, root beer, caramelized sugar, a lot going on here. This shows tawny fortified notes mixed with Madeira-style acidity and baked elements, and the end result is delicious. A fortified, barrel-aged, Muscat-based wine. (90 points IJB)

<85 points

2015 Camilo Castilla Muscat Rayo de Sol- Spain, Navarra
SRP: $15
Pale straw. Aromas of lychee, white table grapes, sweet floral perfume, tropical flowers. Round on the palate with sweet tropical fruit (papaya, pineapple, banana) and low acidity. A bit heavy but I could see many palates liking this.

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