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Spain’s Navarra region features wines packed with flavor & value

The Navarra region located in Northern Spain was for years known largely as a producer of Rosé wines, often made from Garnacha. Over time, that has changed. Today, Navarra features Reds, Whites and Rosés made from a myriad of varieties both local and international. I just tasted through some current release wines from Navarra and I found a lot to like. The wines I sampled offered tons of genuine flavors that are true to the grapes in play. Additionally, they also represent really good values that are well priced for everyday drinking. However, the quality and complexity of a couple selections make them appropriate for special occasions or gifting too.

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Bodegas Marco Real 2015 Marco Real Red Young Blend ($11)

This offering blends together Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. As the name indicates, this is a young, lightly aged wine. From the first whiff to the last sip, it’s loaded with fresh, eager red fruit flavors. Cherry and bits of strawberry appear on the nose. The palate is loaded with cherry, leather, raspberry and spices. Bits of mineral and pepper appear on the finish. Here’s a young, juicy wine that goes down easily and will pair with a wide array of foods. At around $10, it’s a really good value.

Bodegas Castillo De Monijardin 2013 Coupage Seleccion ($12)

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo make up this offering. Cherry, tobacco and black pepper notes emerge from the nose. The palate is filled with chewy red fruit flavors and wisps of earth. Leather, red raspberry and roasted espresso emerges on the firm finish. This would pair beautifully with pot roast or strong cheeses.

Bodegas Nekeas 2014 El Chaparral Old Vine Garnacha ($14)

This is composed entirely of Garnacha (Grenache). The vines sourced are between 85 and 125 years old. Blackberry aromas are punctuated by wisps of vanilla bean. Black raspberry, blackberry and black olive notes dominate the layered palate. Minerals, earth and chicory characteristics are all evident on the above average finish. This is full of the dark, juicy flavors you’d expect with Garnacha. Pair this with full-flavored foods for stunning results.

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Bodega Inurrieta 2013 Inurrieta Cuatrocientos Crianza ($18)

This Crianza is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (37%), Syrah (20%), Graciano (20%), Garnacha (15%) and Merlot (8%). Boysenberry, plum and bits of toast are evident on the nose. Black cherry and raspberry dominate the palate along with pepper and bits of cardamom. Dusty dark chocolate and dried cherry flavors emerge on the long finish. This would pair perfectly with a lamb burger topped with sautéed mushrooms and feta cheese.

Bodegas Ochoa 2009 Ochoa Reserva ($22)

This Reserva is a blend of Tempranillo (55%), Cabernet sauvignon (30%) and Merlot (15%). Aging occurred over 18 months in oak followed by time in a bottle to achieve Reserva status. Red fruits tinged with wisps of black fill the nose. Cherry, plum and raspberry flavors are evident on the meaty palate. Chicory, minerals and dried plum flavors emerge on the generous finish. This would pair marvelously with cassoulet.

Bodegas Pago De Larrainzar 2009 Pago De Larrainzar Reserva Especial ($25)

This offering is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (35%), Tempranillo (10%) and Garnacha (5%). Each lot of fruit is picked and vinified separately. This Estate Blend is a tribute to the property the family has owned for more than 150 years. Red cherry, plum and a dusting of cocoa are evident on the nose. Fresh red fruits, olive tapenade, spices and more contribute to the deeply layered palate. The above average finish is studded with minerals, earth, dried red fruit and savory herbs. This is an impressive wine all the way around. It’s perfectly suited to serve at a special occasion and at $25 represents a phenomenal value.

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