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.
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.
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Spain’s Ribera Del Duero Region makes a strong impression
I recently attended an excellent tasting that featured wines from the Ribera Del Duero region of Spain. It’s always fascinating to taste a broad array of wines in one room from a specific part of the world. It allows side-by-side comparisons, and showcases how many excellent wines a region has. In the case of Ribera Del Duero the array of terrific wines I tasted in one day was a bit head-spinning, actually. While I’d had wines from this area before, I’d never sampled nearly as many at one time. A couple of producers kept reverberating in my mind days after the event, thus I decided to revisit a few of their wines so I could share my thoughts about them. Tempranillo has long been one of my favorite red varieties and this grape flourishes as well in Ribera Del Duero as anywhere.
The Bodegas Peñalba Lopez S.L. 2009 Los Cantos was produced from a blend of Tempranillo (95 percent) and Merlot (5 percent). The vineyards sourced were planted an average of 20 years prior to the vintage. Fermentation took place over nine days in stainless steel vats with native yeast. Barrel aging followed in French oak. This wine has a suggested retail price of $23. Lovely herb and floral aromas fill the nose of Los Cantos. The palate here is studded with layer upon layer of fresh, dark fruit flavors. This wine is marked by crisp acidity and refreshing flavors that beckon you back to the glass for sip after sip. Bits of French Roast coffee and sour black fruit flavors mark the finish; cherry and blackberry are of particular note and accompanied by minerals and copious spices. Los Cantos is a tremendous value in its price range. It’s the kind of wine you may want to buy a case of, to keep around for everyday drinking.
The Bodegas Peñalba Lopez S.L. 2006 Torremilanos was produced using Tempranillo (90 percent) and White Tempranillo (10 percent). White Tempranillo is a genetic mutation of the original Tempranillo grape and a relatively recent one. The vineyards sourced have more than 90 years of age on them. Fermentation took place in concrete tanks. Aging followed in a combination of French oak (80 percent), and concrete tanks (20 percent) over a period of 24 months. This selection has a suggested retail price of $30. Ripe black cherry aromas and bits of toast mark the nose of this wine. Spices such as cardamom and clove are present on the palate and support oodles of dark fruit flavors which are impressive in their combination of intensity and precision. Black tea, minerals and continued fruit flavors such as cherry are in evidence on the finish, which has excellent length and persistence. This wine will work wonderfully both on its own and paired with full-flavored foods, and is a real knockout.
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