Friday, February 12, 2010

NAVARRA..a KINGDOM of FLAVORS and TRADITION...by Philip S. Kampe

NAVARRA is an area in northern Spain, rich in tradition and history. This unique area is better known as the 'Basque' region. Navarra has diverse geography, stretching from the Pyrenees Mountains to the Ebro river basin on the edge of Rioja Baja. The region is full of mountains and pastoral settings.

The Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean influence the climate.

Pamplona, where the running of the bull's takes place, is the Capital.

Vineyards have been present since the Roman occupation.

In the Eleventh century, Navarra gained it's independence. Navarra has been a Kingdom ever since.

In the thirteenth century, the French arrived and influenced the winemaking style for the next three hundred years.

In the sixteenth century, Ferdinand and Isabella annexed Navarra permantly to Spain. Winemaking has continued until this day.

The soil ranges from reddish- grey, chalky soil to brown-limestone topsoil.

Navarra has 37,000 acres of vineyards, which produces 70 million liters of wine.

White wine varieties include: Sauvignon Blanc; Moscatel; Malvasia; White Garnacha; Viura and Chardonnay.

Red varieties include: Syrah; Pinot Noir; Tempranillo; Graciano; Merlot; Carignan (Mazuelo); Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Navarra has five winegrowing areas: Valdizarbe; Tierra Estella; Baja Montana; Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja. Each region is differnt, due to it's terroir.

VALDIZARBE, located in the north central oprtion of the region, has chalky, reddish-grey soil and represents 8% of Navarra's total wine production.

TIERRA ESTELLA , located in the northwest has similar soil to Valdizarbe and represents 17% of the regions wine production.

BAJA MONTANA , located in the northeastern section of Navarra produces the best 'roses' in Navarra. 13% of total wine production comes from this region. The soil is limestone and gravel.

RIBERA ALTA is the 'heart of Navarra'. The sandy and limstone soil produce 33% of Navarra's wine production.

RIBERA BAJA, Navarra's most southern most region area, grows 29% of Navarra's grapes. The soil is chalk and limestone.

The GARNACHA grape dominates the region and accounts for nearly 80% of it's wine production. Tempranillo, which logically should be the area's key grape, accounts for only 15% of wine production. Traditionally, Navarra has been a rose (rosado) dominated country, using the Garnacha grape for production. Lately, the demand for reds has risen and Tempranillo based wines lead the demand. Unlike roses dry and fruity profile, tempranillo is concentrated and fruity with an oak influence.

Recently I attended a Navarra http://www.navarrawine.com/ wine tasting, hosted
by Vinos D. O. Navarra.

The vineyards represented at the tasting were:
Bodegas y Vinedos ALZANIA http://www.alzania.es/
Bodegas ARATAJONA http://www.bodegasaratajona.es/
Bidegas CAMILO CASTILLA http://www.camilocastilla.es/
Bodegas CASTILLO de MONJARDIN http://www.monjardin.es/
Bodega CHIVITE http://www.bodegaschivite.com/
Bodegas ENANZO http://www.enanzo.com/
Bodegas INURRIETA http://www.bodegainurrieta.com/
Bodegas OCHOA http://www.bodegasochoa.com/
Bodegas ONDARRE http://www.bodegasondarre.es/
Bodegas OTAZU http://www.otazu.com/
Bodegas PAGO de LARRAINZAR http://www.pagodelarrainzar.com/
Bodegas PRINCIPE de VIANA http://www.principedeviana.com/
Bodegas SARRIA http://www.bodegasdesarria.com/
Bodegas 1877 http://www.swd.es/
Bodegas 3.0/CASITA MAMI http://www.romeromiller.com/

Most of these wines are distributed in the United States. If you have interest to learn more about he wines from Navarra, look up the URL and you can learn more about each company.

The 'KINGDOM OF NAVARRA' produces wines that that are outstanding, affordable and distributed throughout North America.
This is the time to experiment with wines from this region. You will not be let down!!
Let me know what you think!!!

PHILIP S. KAMPE
MARIA KAMPE
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