Navarre: a land of many terroirs
Until 1841, Navarre was an independent kingdom with a rich wine culture. Thanks to varying soil types and equally diverse climatic influences, Navarra has an amazing array of wines. The spectrum ranges from substantial Chardonnays to drinkable rosés to red wines, where international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot often set the tone along with Tempranillo and Garnacha. Exquisite sweet wines from Moscatel grapes are also vinified here.
White wines from Navarra
Rosé wines from Navarra
Red wines from Navarra
In the northwest of Navarre, the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela runs straight through the vineyards. The pilgrims did not just bring new knowledge of wine – they were also thirsty, and the monasteries steadily expanded their wine production. Thus, by the 9th and 10th centuries, large quantities of wine were already produced here. However, the beginnings of viticulture here stretch back to pre-Roman times. Thus Navarre is one of the oldest wine regions in Spain. In the middle of the 19th century, almost 50,000 hectares were planted with vines. Then, phylloxera arrived, destroying almost all of the vineyards. Today, wine cultivation is restored and occurs on around 18,000 hectares.
The Navarre wine region is divided into five sub-regions. In northern areas like Tierra Estella and Valdizarba, a temperate, Atlantic-influenced climate yields well-structured, elegant wines, while the crus from the more southerly areas of Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja tend towards fullness and strength. The unique climate is not only attributed to a meeting of Atlantic and Continental influences – along the foothills of the Pyrenees and through the Ebro valley, Mediterranean air masses also reach Navarre, especially in the Baja Montaña subzone in the southeast. The soil types are also diverse: brownish limestone and marl soils predominate, but there are also reddish clay soils with high iron content and alluvial sand and gravel in the river valleys.
Thanks to this complex jigsaw of terroir types, Navarre has a greater variety of wines to offer than any other Spanish wine region. Since the 90s, vintners have consciously turned towards international varieties. Today, some of the best Chardonnays on the Iberian Peninsula are vinified in Navarre. The red cuvées are also excellent, many of which are based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Other assemblages combine the Spanish national variety of Tempranillo with Bordeaux growths. The long-established Garnacha variety is currently experiencing a renaissance. Above all, Garnacha selections from old vines show strong character. Some of the best rosés also come from Navarre (mostly also based on Garnacha). The Moscatel sweet wines, which are often aged for years in barrels, are a true specialty.