The Navarra Denominación de Origen (DO) is often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbour Rioja; after all, the latter does extend into the Autonomous Community of Navarre, leaving the southern part for the Navarra DO. Rosé – well, Rosado more properly – was the style which Navarra became most well known for, but increasingly its reds are gaining in prominence and recognition.
Bodegas Ochoa is currently in the hands of the fifth (Javier Ochoa) and sixth generations (his daughters Adriana and Beatriz), with each generation improving both the quality and diversity of the range. When I tried the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva four years ago I was very impressed. When I recently got the opportunity to try the current release of the Reserva I didn’t have to be asked twice!
Disclosure: sample was kindly provided, opinions remain my own
Ochoa Navarra Tinto Reserva 2010 (13.5%, RRP €20 at Hole in the Wall, Cabra; O’Donovan’s, Cork; Morton’s Ranelagh)
The blend here is very typical of Navarra: Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Maturation is between 15 to 18 months in French and American barriques (225 litre oak barrels) then a further five or so years in bottle before release.
The result is a wine which is simply bursting with ripe fruit! Even though this wine is eight years old, tasting it is like munching on fresh blackcurrants and blueberries, with a touch of vanilla. It’s not a jammy fruit bomb, though – it’s very smooth and elegant but complex at the same time.
If you’ve never had Navarra before, this sets the bar very high indeed!