Geography and a bit of history: the Province of Navarra is bordered by the Pyrenees to the north. To the south by the Ebro, to the west by the Basque Country and to the east by Aragon. The medieval kingdom of Navarra was a power to be reckoned with and extended from Bordeaux to Barcelona in the eleventh century. The Province comprises two wine regions: D.O. Navarra and D.O.Ca Rioja.
D.O. Navarra: wine was already made here in Roman times. In the twelfth century, pilgrims turned it into an important wine region, and by the end of the nineteenth century it covered more than 50,000 hectares, vineyards included ... Due to the devastating passage of Phylloxera, this area has been drastically reduced. Nowadays only 11,000 hectares are entitled to use the D.O. Navarra label.
This wine area is located on the southern foothills of the Pyrenees, bordering Rioja (Rioja Oriental, along the Ebro). The D.O. is endowed with state-of-the-art wine technology and bodegas that were only set up after the Spanish accession to the EEC (1986), with generous subsidies and the Spanish agricultural authorities' recommendation to choose international grape varieties (Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, ...) with the aim of targeting the region at the export market.
D.O. Navarra is divided into five subregions. The climate is different in each and there are also differences within them at micro level. Nevertheless, it can be characterised as continental in character overall. The soils comprise a top layer of light soil on a gravel and limestone base, very well suited to viticulture.
Until the 1980s Navarra was best known for its rosé wines made from Garnacha. But since then it has developed into one of Spain's most innovative and exciting wine regions with a wide range of different wines. Garnacha remains important, but Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Viura, Chardonnay and Moscatel are all increasingly widely planted.
This development is largely thanks to EVENA, the ‘Estación de Viticultura y Enología de Navarra’ (The Research Institute for Viticulture and Oenology of Navarra). This centre, set up by the regional government in Olite, fosters research and education in the field of winegrowing and vinification. This has contributed greatly to the D.O. developing into a producer of a very wide variety of wines, rarely equalled in Spain. As a result, Navarra now makes high-quality red, white, rosé and Moscatel wine.