We were surprised by the wines from Bodegas Bernabe Navarro. This family business has almost 40 hectares of vineyard at an altitude of around 750 metres, in Villeda, inland in the Province of Alicante. The rocky subsoil and the unique combination of a continental and a Mediterranean climate make this region particularly well-suited to making expressive and aromatic wines. The vines which are predominantly Monastrell, but also Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, are more than fifty years old. Bodegas Barnabe Navarro works in a thoroughly organic way and uses only French oak barrels. Year after year their wines receive top ratings both in Spain and internationally.
D.O. Alicante. The name of Alicante immediately evokes associations of popular holiday resorts, where people come for carefree beach holidays. But it is also one of the quality D.O.s that do way more than just producing uncomplicated drinking wines. Bernabé Navarro wines are the silent, but flavoursome witnesses of this.
Geographically speaking, the inland areas quickly reach altitudes of 750 metres and the sea breeze ensures the necessary tempering of the summer heat. In the past ten years, D.O. Alicante has earned increasing respect for its new light, fresh wines and interesting reds, produced by forward-thinking bodegas.
The wine region can be split into two contrasting parts. The larger part is located in the dry valley of Vinalopórivier, which stretches behind the city of Alicante (also known as Alacant in Valencia dialect). Here the Monastrell grapes share the vineyard with new grape varieties. The second and smaller part, which was made part of the D.O. in 1987, is La Marina on the north coast, where Moscatel grapes thrive in the warm and humid climate.
As well as the new red wines from the area, there is also Fondillon, the classic dessert wine from Alicante, which has been exported for centuries and is currently enjoying a revival. This traditional wine is made from grape varieties that are allowed to overripen on the vine; it has a high alcohol percentage and turns from red to brown as its ages.
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