What do you think when I say the words “Spanish Wine”?
The chances are that “Rioja” will immediately spring to your mind. It’s usually my first association for Spanish wine too. I love reds from La Rioja. The flavours of cedar, smoke and vanilla are as exciting as they are unmistakable. But we’re not here to talk about Rioja.
North east of La Rioja lies the province of Navarra. Sloping from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the Ebro river basin, grapes have been grown in Navarra since the Second Century BCE. Over 22 centuries since then, they’ve learned a thing or two about making wine.
Bodegas Maximo Abete continues this history with their Guerinda brand, named after the local mountains, the Sierra de Guerinda. Bodegas Maximo Abete typifies everything that’s good about independent, artisan winemaking. Sisters Maria and Yoanna Abete, and Yoanna’s husband, Juanma Lerga, all work as a family in the winery. They’re committed to staying small and producing quality wines that represent their corner of Navarra.
To that end, Bodegas Maximo Abete focuses on old Navarrese stains of the Garnacha grape. They plant a variety of Garnachas indigenous to the area, the benefits of which can be tasted in the first of our two wines of the week this week.
Guerinda ‘El Máximo’ Crianza
Guerinda ‘El Máximo’ Crianza is the legacy of Máximo Abete, who started producing his own wine rather than selling grapes to the local Co-Op. This is the first wine Máximo made using grapes grown 700m above sea level, on slopes so steep and difficult to access that his neighbours thought he was mad.
But Máximo’s conviction that interesting places make interesting wines was justified. This wine emerges from between pine forests and wild herbs with a rich texture and deep and juicy fruit flavours. Despite its rugged origins, the wine is balanced; firm tannins are complemented by a hint of spice.
Guerinda ‘El Máximo’ Crianza is grown in a corner of the Guerinda vineyards favoured by the winemakers. The plot is called Vallervitos and is also favoured by the local Roe Deer and wild Boar. Perhaps this is why Guerinda ‘El Máximo’ Crianza makes such a great wine to drink with game.
Guerinda ‘La Blanca’ Chardonnay
The sensitivity with Guerinda make La Blanca is apparent through the uplifting floral scents and flavours of stone and citrus fruits. Quality in the vineyard and talent in the winery is clear:
“This stuff is revolutionary and utterly gorgeous. The fruit is as clean and as clear as a whistle (greengages, but that may be just me). It’s as far from the syrupy, oaky stuff of yore as you can get. A revelation.” – Tom Doorley, Irish Mail on Sunday
Guerinda ‘La Blanca’ Chardonnay is ideal with white fish or shellfish but is equally enjoyable on its own.
Both Guerinda ‘La Blanca’ Chardonnay and Guerinda ‘El Máximo’ Crianza will be open for tasting in our shops in Mullingar and Arnotts from Tuesday, August 8th. Drop in and see what Navarra has to offer.