Navarre, where grenache reigns supreme

Independent through to the 16th century, the Kingdom of Navarre was established in 824 by the Vascones, the ancestors of the present-day Basques.

Its footprint was originally more extensive, stretching north of the Pyrenees. Its somewhat chequered history probably explains why its wine industry was neither particularly developed nor  renowned. Southern Navarre – to focus solely on the Spanish part of this very ancient province – is now among regions (the Chartered Community of Navarre) that enjoy fairly broad-ranging autonomy. Primarily famed for its quaffing-style rosés in the past – made

from widespread plantations of Grenache vines following the phylloxera crisis – it has now successfully broken free of the shackles of pink wine. It has even produced some very classic reds, akin to those in the neighbouring region of Rioja – in fact some of them are marketed under the famous appellation.

The current trend, though, is clearly focused on fine, structured, aromatic red wines, often made from the region’s iconic grape variety that is Grenache. Rioja’s highly prized Tempranillo, however, is also grown, as are French cousins Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon. We took an indulgent tour of the region sandwiched between the river Ebro and the hills that roll all the way to the Pyrenees. Isabelle Escande’s refreshing feature report (pages 107 to 113) accurately encapsulates the new spirit that prevails across Navarre. We encourage you to discover this dynamic and endearing wine region through the portraits of four Bodegas with a strong local rooting, and concern for the environment, innovation and the arts. This is one breath of fresh air that you can soak up to your heart’s content!



By Isabelle Escande photographs - Courtesy of the estates