The Navarra region has 11,500 hectares of vines area, with the following varieties planted:
- Red (90% of the varieties are Reds): Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Graciano, Syrah and Pinot Noir.
- White (Only 10% of the total varieties): Chardonnay, Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia and Sauvignon Blanc.
The region on Navarra extends 100 km south from Pamplona. The soils are very diverse, generally made from limestone and clay, and in some cases, rocky.
At Ochoa, family is an important part of the winery history. The grandfather used to sell the wine door to door in “wine pockets” made of leather. They own 145 hectares of vineyards and 27 hectares planted with olive trees. They grow Tempranillo, garnacha, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and graciano, as well as moscatelo, viura, chardonnay and viognier.
“Everything is about balance; I want to do elegant wines.”
Ochoa, (which means wolf is basque) is the first winery in Spain to do R&D projects. They have been practicing organic farming with 80 hectares in conversion, 20 hectares are already certified, and they wish that in 2020 all the red will be organic.
The Arinzano winery is the first « pago wine » from the northest spain. They own 355 hectares of which 128 are dedicated to the cultivation of Pago Vineyard, which is a classification for Spanish wines only attributed to individual vineyards estates, and not to a wine region. They are only 17 in Spain which obtained the Vino de Pago classification since 2003, which is a proof to the consumer of the constent quality of their wines. Arinzano have all types of soils, all dedicated to the best mix with the different variety.
The winery has been designed by the architect Rafael Moneo, a Spanish architect which is well known for his works around the world (Spain, Germany, USA…) and his partnerships with many great architects like Jorn Utzon, the Sydney Opera’s author.
In the 19th century, French negociants came to the Rioja region to find an alternative grape after the phylloxera epidemic. Don Rafael Lopez de Heredia y Landeta felt in love with the area of haro and began the construction in 1877 of the bodega, “the oldest in Haro and one of the first three houses in the Rioja region”. Since 141 years, there has been four generations of the Lopez de Heredia family, which all produced exceptional wines and devoted themselves to the winery. We tried the Viña Tondonia Reserva 2005, a vintage as good in quality than in quantity in Rioja. A rich, bvery dry, smooth wine with good tanning and balance made of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Grenache, 10% of Graciano and Mazuelo, all from their vineyards.
Ribera Del Duero – Castillo y Leon
The history begins in 1982, when the Alvares family acquires Vega Sicilia. In 1991, Alion is created by the family not far from Vega, in Ribera del Duero, followed by Oremus in 1993, in Hungary, to develop their Tokaj. It’s only in 2001 that Pintia is created in the Toro Region, the last project of the Alvarez family. Finally, in 2013, Benjamin de Rothschild and Vega Sicilia develops together Macan, in Rioja. With 153 years of history, Vega Sicilia is a unique winery. The wines are aged in vats and oak barrels during many years before being released on the market. But the little secret is: 1/3 of their barrels are made at the domaine, and each barrels has its particular toasting considering which wine they’ll be used for ! It was one of the visits I was expecting the most, and since it actually happened, my only wish is to go back…