GRUPO LA NAVARRA
BODEGAS: MARCO REAL; SEÑORÍO DE ANDIÓN;
VIÑEDOS DE VILLAESTER; & BELASCO DE BAQUEDANO!
It’s not just the wines made by Grupo Navarra that provide a bit of a mouthful. If you try and say all the names of the bodegas under their control as well as the areas of production where they are placed, you’ll find you’ll need a long breath!
You might remember my article, written way back in July 2013, which alluded to the iceberg beneath its tip, the Homenaje range of wines, produced by Bodegas Marco Real, DO Navarra? Well, although a major player within the group, Bodegas Marco Real is only one, of an impressive group of bodegas which make wine in various different locations in Spain, as well as the Mendoza region of Argentina.
Subsequent Cork Talks have told of some of those areas and several of those wines. I’ve not tasted a poor one yet, and today’s final article is about the remainder. I urge you to look out for wines made by these bodegas, you’ll not be disappointed!
The dry climate and brown stone-strewn soils on the high plains above the River Duero, in which Verdejo, Viura and more recently Sauvignon Blanc vines thrive, give DO Rueda wines an intriguing terroir ‘feel’. Viña del Sopié wines, which make use of all three varieties, is the latest range in the La Navarra portfolio of wines.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Viña del Sopié wines are making a contribution to the fascinating fact that one in three bottles of wine sold in Spain is from Rueda! Their Verdejo/Viura blend is typically fresh with citrus, green pepper and kiwi fruit aromas. My favourite was their Viña del Sopié Verdejo 100% where fennel notes are added to the above with some gooseberry and thyme flavour can also be found.
Inaugurated just ten years ago and located adjacent to Bodegas Marco Real, the wines of Señorío de Andión have a different flavour and style to those of their sister bodega. The 2008 makes use of hand harvested Tempranillo, Cabernet, Merlot and Graciano which enjoy fifteen months in French oak.
The resulting wine is full and flavoursome with notable elegance and complexity. Its dark colour promises some black cherry flavours which combine nicely with Cabernet blackcurrant and Merlot plum and a slightly ephemeral Tempranillo inspired loganberry. There’s a little bay leaf and earthiness on the finish, which is quite long. Lovely wine.
The Señorío de Andión Moscatel dessert wine was a revelation served with Foie Gras over Christmas and must go down as one of the best dessert wines of the year! The grapes are late harvest, staying on the vines until they have reached a high sugar level, but retaining the necessary acidity.
After fermentation the wine is left on its lees with regular battonage (stirring) and then run off into French oak until the wine maker declares it is ready for bottling. It then spends time in bottle before being released. You’ll find delicious honeyed nuts on the nose and palate, with orange skin, raisins, sugared dried fruits and a hint of mountain herbs. Super!
Let’s now talk Rioja – yes, Grupo La Navarra makes wine in Spain’s most famous area too. Domus Dei Crianza 2008 is a dark garnet colour with rich cherry and red berries bound together with oaky vanilla notes from its ageing in French and American oak. It lingers on the palate, eventually fading with a note of sweet tannin.
In some ways the Domus Dei 2007 Reserva is more of the same – but there’s an extra depth and complexity to this wine which aged for three years, half in oak and half in bottle before its release. Sweet tannin again with some refreshing acidity and still bold fruit bound together with understated and yet influential oak notes – vanilla and some coffee and toffee too.
The Arvutada from Viñedos de Villaester (named after Europe’s largest and heaviest bird whose picture adorns the label) has Cabernet Sauvignon punching above its Tempranillo bedfellow’s weight. There’s a touch of tar and liquorice noted within the upfront blackcurrant fruit and this VdlT Castilla y León wine is one of those wines that emphasise again the fact that not all top Spanish wine is DO wine!
Finally, in terms of this article, but in terms of my drinking wines from the La Navarra Group, there is the Taurus range from the Villaester winery in DO Toro. Their crianza 2007 is made from Tinta de Toro grapes (aka Tempranillo!) which were hand harvested and after fermentation the resulting deeply coloured wine was aged in oak for six months. Look out for the dark cherry fruit and earthy feel of the wine. Another success from this large group of bodegas!
PS Just had a cancellation for the wine orientated Short Break in the mountains above Granada, Jerez and Seville – please see advert on this page. Two places left!