1 March 2017
Today, I had a chance to taste a flight of 6 wines from Bodegas Julián Chivite, one of the oldest family owned bodegas in Navarra, Spain founded in 1647. Thanks to Mr. Guillermo Campoamor, representative of Bodegas Chivite, who has introduced these wines to Hong Kong!
Navarra has long been renowned of producing fruity unoaked Rosado (rosés) made of Garnacha (aka Grenache in France). From the 1980s, international varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have been grown alongside the native Viura, Tempranillo and Garnacha. Gradually, growers have switched over to producing more red wine. Among the native varieties, Tempranillo has become the most widely planted variety ahead of Garnacha. It is believed that international varieties well suited to the region which, whilst not neglecting the enduring potential of the traditional grapes, aided the development of new wine styles.
With the support of the Consejo Regulador and the domestic viticultural research station, since the 1990’s, new generation successors of the bodega owners have been making drastic changes, through research aimed at achieving wines of quality, bringing innovative and revolutionary wine-making concepts to the region. The second Rosado I tasted today reflects some innovation! (See below)
One of the red wines tasted is the Chivite “Colección 125” Reserva DO Navarra 2011, which showed quite good fruit and oak extractions, expressing very fresh notes of red and black currents, cinnamon, tobacco and sandalwood. Mr. Campoamor explained that the wine has been made from 100% Tempranillo with 12 months in French oak barrels (50% new and 50% second used). The wine can surely age for further 5-10 years!
What impressed me most is still the Rosado – the region’s signature! There are two today: Chivite “las Finas” Rosado IGP Tres Ribera 2015 (made from 50% Tempranillo and 50% Garnacha, unoaked) and Chivite “Colección 125” Rosado DO Navarra 2007 (made from 60% Tempranillo and 40% Garnacha 12 months on its lees with the corresponding bâtonnages in French oak barrels). The traditionally made Rosado is pale pink, showing intense and very fruity, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry with rose petals at the end, contrasting with the new method Rosado, which is salmon pink in colour, showing intense, delicate notes of firewood and fresh and fleshy pomegranate with a smooth and persistent finish.