What do you think when I say the words “Spanish Wine”? 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 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 La Blanca is treated with delicacy and care by Maria and Yoanna Abete. The Chardonnay grapes receive year-round attention in the vineyard and benefit from a gentle touch in the winery.