The northern DO of Navarra borders the Basque Country, Rioja, Aragón and the Pyrenees. The region encompasses both cooler mountainous areas and warm, sun-drenched fertile valleys which are a significant influence for its wine styles and gastronomy.
Navarra was traditionally the source of Spain’s rosé wines and some of the country’s best rosés are still made here, mainly from the Garnacha grape. A major change in direction came about in the early 1980s when the government-funded EVENA research station, located at Olite, started to investigate a wide variety of grapes and the region’s soils to establish the best way forward for red winemaking in the region.
Today red wine accounts for at least 75% of the region’s production and an eclectic mix of styles can be found. You can generally rely on the region offering fairly modern styles based on a mix of local and international grapes with careful measures of oak.
Navarra has a rich cultural backdrop. Its epicentre is the vibrant city of Pamplona, the setting for the famous San Fermín festival which features eight days of bull running. Other aspects of interest include the fairytale-like medieval parador at Olite, one of Spain’s finest historic monuments, as well as lakes, gorges and spectacular mountain ranges and a comprehensive wine route.
Local gastronomic specialities go hand in hand with Navarra’s wines. They include suckling pig and other fine meats, trout from local rivers and the freshest fish from the nearby northern coast as well asparagus, artichokes and the distinctive triangular red ‘pimiento del piquillo’ peppers which are simply a must.