Following my (excellent!) column on the Wines of Spain 2017 in Hospitality Ireland this month I focused the AC Wine Club's attention onto tradition v modernism in Navarra. Great theme. Great tasting. Just to emphasise how tradition can work alongside modernity I also included two wines imported by Cassidy Wines and made by the ever brilliant Jose Moro in Ribera del Duero.
Bodegas Ochoa is a fifth and sixth generation winemaking family. Their wines are excellent and are imported by Comans Beverages. I like to showcase them as they show how good the region can be even if we follow the simple brand architecture where entry level joven (unaged) white and red wines are followed by aged Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva styles.
Tandem Wines is a small high quality producer set up as recently as 2003 by Alicia Eyaralar and Jose Maria Fraile and imported by O'Briens Wines. Their emphasis on fine fruit forward wines is exemplary.
The Navarra region allows a very generous combination of the grapes Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Graciano and Mazuelo, Pinot Noir and Syrah for its red wines. Red wines account for 94% of the regional output. White wines are made with Viura, Chardonnay, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasia and a Moscatel. As these can be blended and aged in a multiple of combinations Navarra is, to an extent, capable of making some of the most diverse ranges of wines found anywhere in Spain.
For more info on Ribera del Duero have a look back here to our tasting from last April. This really is a great little wine club!!
Bodegas Ochoa Calendas Series 2016
Viura, Chardonnay, Moscatel
No ageing at all and shows clean, crisp, lines with fresh fruit bursting from the glass. Value wine. Drinking well.
Bodegas Ochoa tells us they took their 'inspiration for the name from those ancient cultures when humankind and the whole of nature were ruled by the moon, which measured time and marked the birth of new life. For the Romans, the moon marked the Calends of March (their New Year’s Day) which, interestingly, coincides with the spring awakening of our vines, when our wine begins its lifecycle.
The slogan for this series is “The moon is always there, even if we can’t see it”. It is meant to reflect our respect for the course of Nature, which is an essential part of making quality wines'.
Tandem Inmacula 2014
Tandem Ars Nova 2013
No pumps. Just gentle fermentation and then gravity fed to concrete tanks for a 24 month ageing followed by a further 9 in 300l oak casks.
This is a wine that clearly loves where it came from as it brings every bit of the mountains and their vegetation with it - berries galore and layers of soft, enveloping fruits. Gorgeous.
Cepa 21 Malabrigo 2011
Ribera del Duero
5000 bottle production
Extraordinary wine showing how a 'cool climate' wine with an almost limitless fruit can be made in a warm climate. Mind you its a harsh winter they have in Ribera del Duero and the grapes for this have been grown in a cool, breezy high altitude vineyard. Intense. Forgiving. Tender. Absolutely 'modern' wine in the very best meaning of the word modern.
Emilio Moro Malleolus 2013
Ribera del Duero
A completely exquisite wine. If you want to see how majestic a traditional style of wine from Ribera del Duero can be then you really must try this at some stage. It has an incredible smoothness, very full and immense dark fruit notes with an endless length. This is a complete wine and a great credit to Jose Moro.
Oak fermentation (300litre French barrels) and lees ageing have given this wine immense character, depth and definition. Inmacula is latin for 'without blemish'. The palate here is soft and fabulously interesting. Some found the oak here not to their liking. I think its perfect ....
Bodegas Ochoa Calendas Series Tinto
This is fine wine for everyday drinking. Full fruit. All good. Clean as a whistle, value wine.
Bodegas Ochoa Reserva 2009
Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Ochoa is a quality label. I love the fact that this wine is first treated as the house crianza (explains why Ochoa Crianza ia always so good) and then further aged to Reserva level, bottled non filtered and may throw a sediment (this one didn't!) and always ages with fabulous grace, softness and elegance. Great example of Navarra Reserva style
This was a great tasting and one where everyone learnt a lot. Our November meeting will take place on Monday the 6th - Italian Selection.