POSTED ON September 10, 2009 | IN Wine Information | BY joe

What better venue for a wine tasting than the Palace Hotel in San Francisco? That is where some 15 of Spain’s Navarra wineries poured their wines for the trade and media on September 9th. We live on the Peninsula so it was an easy 30-minute BART ride from Millbrae to the Montgomery Street station in S.F. where we walked a half block to the Palace to taste the wines of Navarra.

Navarra is one of Spain’s lesser-known official wine regions, Denominacion de Origen or D.O. for short. It is located at on the French border north of Spain’s world-renowned Rioja wine region. The Navarra region is best known for the “Running of the Bulls”each year in the city of Pamplona. The wineries of Navarra would prefer that they be known more for their wines than for the bulls.

The wines of Navarra in a sense are in the “get no respect”category of Spanish wines. This is probably due to two factors: One, the Rioja wines to the south are the oldest and most famous of Spain, and just about all the other wine regions take a back seat to Rioja. Secondly, for years Navarra produced mostly Rosé wines and Rosé is not exactly most peoples’ favorite wine. Navarra wineries, realizing that they need to change their image, are doing some extensive P.R. work, including this tasting.

One important factor going for the Navarra wineries is their less restrictive D.O. laws. They are able to grow and produce several varietals and even make some interesting blends. Yes, they do make that 100 percent Tempranillo, the hallmark grape of Spain, but the also make Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and others.

One thing we noted was the price of the wines. Most of the wines are well under $20. Curiously, the most expensive wine we tasted was $54 but we liked it the least of all the wines.
Our favorite winery of the 15 by far was Bodega Ochoa. We really enjoyed all of their wines immensely including an impressive and complex dry Rosé. We will definitely seek out these wines and have found a few at one of our favorite wine shops, K&L Wines. We highly recommend them. In case your are interested, here is a link to the Bodega Ochoa Website.

Another winery of interest was Castillo de Monjardin. They make a 100% Merlot, practically unheard of in Spain, and this wine is very delicious. Representing Castillo de Monjardin was the owners’ son, Victor Del Villar Olano. He was very excited because after the event he was on to Frog’s Leap Winery to work for a month. He explained that there was very little organic farming in Navarra and his family is interesting in pursuing organic farming. A stint at Frog’s Leap will undoubtedly give him some insights into sustainable and organic farming. I hope we can follow some of his activities.
Next time you are in a wine shop, do yourself a favor and look over the Spanish wine section and see if there are any Navarra wines on the shelf. Take a chance and try one; I think you will be quite pleased.
The Navarra Wine Tasting Event at the Palace

What better venue for a wine tasting than the Palace Hotel in San Francisco? That is where some 15 of Spain’s Navarra wineries poured their wines for the trade and media on September 9th. We live on the Peninsula so it was an easy 30-minute BART ride from Millbrae to the Montgomery Street station in S.F. where we walked a half block to the Palace to taste the wines of Navarra.

Navarra is one of Spain’s lesser-known official wine regions, Denominacion de Origen or D.O. for short. It is located at on the French border north of Spain’s world-renowned Rioja wine region. The Navarra region is best known for the “Running of the Bulls”each year in the city of Pamplona. The wineries of Navarra would prefer that they be known more for their wines than for the bulls.

The wines of Navarra in a sense are in the “get no respect”category of Spanish wines. This is probably due to two factors: One, the Rioja wines to the south are the oldest and most famous of Spain, and just about all the other wine regions take a back seat to Rioja. Secondly, for years Navarra produced mostly Rosé wines and Rosé is not exactly most peoples’ favorite wine. Navarra wineries, realizing that they need to change their image, are doing some extensive P.R. work, including this tasting.

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