Saturday, December 1, 2018

One That Can't Wait

Regular readers know how skeptical I am of Spanish wines these days.  So, when a PR rep for a Spanish wine growing region contacted me about reviewing some samples, I shared my misgivings with her. TRUST me, she said.

I've gotten to three of the four reds that arrived a couple of weeks later. Not all of them warrant a
recommendation, but she was right about the oak thing - turns out that not all of Spain is suffering the bludgeoning plague of American staves. The region in question is Navarra. Situated south of San Sebastian - my favorite city in the whole country (perhaps all of Europe) - Navarra is home to Pamplona, among many other smaller towns and villages, and a diversity of terrain that includes lush mountain forests and and brown, parched hillsides.

When several wines arrive from a region, I normally like to review them all before publishing my findings in a round up piece. Occasionally, however, a wine is too good to bury in with a bunch of others. This is one of those times. And if you're one of those wine-lovers who laments the Parkerization of Spain, give the garnachas of Navarra a try - this recent batch doesn't have a single inky fruit bomb in the mix.

2016 Bodegas Nekeas Grenache 'El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa' Navarra $14

Not at all what I was expecting - and in a good way. A lean, spice-laced nose gives way to an energetic texture full of bright, vivacious fruit integrated into the light-medium density structure. Surprisingly elegant given its vigor. Brief aging in French oak complements rather than masks the fruit flavors. Very extroverted. Even with glass in hand, I’m salivating thinking about my next sip. Very enjoyable indeed. What a screaming bargain on top of it all!

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