A champagne-style sparkling wine, made in the traditional method in the Cava region of Spain. When first poured, amidst some caramel-toffee there’s a faint pear note in the aroma. Pear flavors deepen on the palate while the wine is very cold, with a mild, round, fruitiness. There’s little apparent acidity until the wine begins to warm in the glass, then its lemon-wrapped tartness comes through on the palate and in the finish. Recommended. BSE
Very bright red fruits, straightforward, not incredibly complex, but well-balanced. High acid and good minerality make a very food-friendly wine. Cherries and cranberries are the lead fruits with some raspberry showing on the mid-palate along with a very light herbal touch. This is a red wine for chicken, but stick with the dark meat. Recommended. DH
While I was in Navarra this summer, I was told that, due to fierce competition from other Spanish wine regions (as well as European and New World wines) there has been a push for quality since 2007, and I found plenty of evidence to back this up. Briefly, here is what is going on at a sampling of wineries in Navarra.
Surprisingly lush, the Cabernet Franc offers cured tobacco leaf, wrapped in some silky blackberry, black cherry and mocha from the Cabernet Sauvignon. Pencil lead shows up on the mid-palate. Tannins are dusty, fine. The Syrah flows under it all, offering a smoked meat/umami background, then coming to the fore with black pepper on the finish. This seems to just be hitting its stride now, breaking free from its tight, tart youth. Drink with flank steak. Highly recommended. DH
Medium-light amber color. Medium intensity aromas of candied nuts, amaretto, caramel, figs, and honey. Dry on the palate, medium body, medium acidity, and flavors of candied almonds, dried citrus, honey, and burnt sugar; long off-dry finish. Match with mushroom or wild game pâtés. Highly recommended.