Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spicy, fruity Navarra wines warm up chilly spring nights

Spring in the northeast has wavered been warm days and brisk nights, but one of the up sides to the temperature dips is the opportunity to extend the full-bodied red wine drinking season.  The wine region of Navarra in northern Spain offers some bold wines that are perfect for roasts and stews to warm us up despite the calendar's date.

I recently sampled several Navarra red wines that were perfect to ward off the unseasonable chill in the air:

Castillo Monjardin Crianza 2013 Coupage Seleccion - This was a medium body wine - but with lots of character.  It had an appealing nose of black and red fruit, with a hint of strawberries, vanilla, and tar.  The wine had good acidity and levels of flavor with more strawberries as well as spicy black pepper. Wines of Castillo Monjardin are widely available in the USA.

Inurrieta Puro Vicio 2013 Syrah - On the nose, there was blackberry jam, with a fresh violet note and an earthy minerality, an almost soil-like note.  Despite the jamminess of the nose, on the palate, the wine had a tension; there was a drama with three major characters: acidity, tannin, and fruit.  It wasn't plush - it was more angular.  Here the fruit had a spiciness with it, black pepper and clover mixed with the blackberries.  The finish was long.  This is a satisfying wine that would add nicely to a mix of softer wines on a buffet table, or enjoyed with hard cheeses, or with a dinner of roasted pork.

Marco Real 2012 Syrah - The wine had a deep ruby  color and an intense, fresh nose with deep black fruit aromas reminiscent of Cassis.  The Cassis notes continued on the palate. In addition, baking spices of cinnamon and cloves added a savory flavors.  The wine had ample acid and firm tannins - a well-structured wine of complex flavor and a long finish.

Wines from Navarra are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., and often at affordable prices. Look for them at your favorite wine shop and enjoy their warmth until the warm weather finally decides to stay for the next few months.

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