Vina del Portillo, Gran Reserva, DO Navarra, Spain, 2004
A note on DO Navarra
Sandwiched between Rioja and the Pyrenees foothills, at 250-600m altitude. In the north the climate is dry and continental, but not too hot in summer, becoming drier and hotter to the south. Soils are calcareous, sandy in the south.
Permitted varieties include garnacha, graciano, mazuelo (carignan) and tempranillo; cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and syrah; garnacha blanco, malvasia, moscatel, viura (macabeo); chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. The DO encourages trials of new varieties, those performing well are considered for inclusion as permitted varieties.
A speciality is rose from grenache.
International varieties were introduced in the 1980s, since then a new group of enthusiastic producers has arrived, bringing fresh ideas and revolutionary winemaking practices. There is ongoing development within a framework of quality.
This wine: aged in US and French oak barriques (225 litres) for 36 months; a merlot dominated blend with 30% cabernet sauvignon and 10% graciano; Diam 1 agglomerate cork closure, 14% abv, about £11
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity ruby, showing tears.
Nose: clean on the nose, of medium (+) intensity, fully developed, with lightly high-toned stewed red and black berries, over-ripe black cherry, dark rose and rich peony, dried rose buds, tobacco, raisins, spice, liquorice, low-key oak
Palate: a dry wine, medium acidity, fine-grained well-integrated medium tannins, medium (+) alcohol and a medium (+) body, with a smooth texture, a medium intensity, with lifted flavours of stewed red and black cherry and stewed red plum, underpinned by savoury, liquorice and tobacco notes. A medium (+) length with a clean savoury finish with a slight bitterness on the end.
Quality: a good quality wine, nicely balanced along with well-integrated oak, well-developed, showing rich tertiary notes of dried flowers, tobacco, spice and dried fruits, smooth textured and quite complex, but with modest flavour intensity and concentration, with a mid-palate not quite living up to the promise on the nose, still, a decent length.
Readiness for drinking/potential for ageing: this wine is ready now, fully developed and not suited to further ageing, though it will hold for a year or two.