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Home Winners > Winners 2016 > SPAIN: North, including Navarra & Txakoli

Winner Details

Spain: North, including Navarra & Txakoli

2016 Gold: 1 Silver: 7 Bronze: 2 Commended: 4
2015 Gold: 2 Silver: 6 Bronze: 3 Commended: 6

The word ‘polarising’ could have been created for this region’s wines this year. Taking in everything from the well-priced Grenache-driven generosity of Campo de Borja to the taut skeletal punch of Txakoli and liberally scattered with cool-climate international grape offerings from Navarra it does, it’s true, cover a lot of ground.

Yet again and again two teams of tasters working their way through flights from the same region came to wildly different conclusions. It was like asking Jacques Delors and Nigel Farage what they think about the importance of the EU.

Some of this could be explained by the fact that we got a larger than usual entry of wines from Navarra this year. High and cool, it’s a marginal climate for many of the reds grown there, and a fair number of wines overstepped the line between ‘edgy’ and ‘unripe’, though the whites fared better, particularly Chardonnay.

Speaking of whites, it was good to see some Txakolis pick up medals this year (including a first-ever Gold). This style is way off the radar of most restaurants, but its uniqueness can be useful, provided your team learns how to pronounce it. (Hint: it sounds like an Irish railroad worker from an old country and western song: Chack O’Lee).

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘There was a lot of oak in the reds, but you know that you can buy it and it will keep fresh.’ Laurent Richet MS, Restaurant Sat Bains

‘The reds were much more than good for the price.’ Bart Michalewicz, The Arts Club

‘The whites were not as good as expected at all. They were a bit thin and skinny. There should be more texture and brightness. The wines tasted scalped.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘The reds were dynamic. It’s one of the places to look at – an understated area of Spain.’ Gustavo Medina, Tate Britain

‘The reds were the worst flight I’ve had at these awards. They were oxidised, volatile, shagged out wine: over-extracted, with green tannins.’ Simon Woods, team leader

“Txakoli isn’t that well known, but it works well with seafood and you can drink them with anything fatty or greasy.” Ivan Vegas, Fox Fine Wines & Spirits

“Campo de Borja is arguably the best source of Garnacha in the world. And if you list it above 25 quid in a restaurant you should be shot because it is great value.” Simon Woods, team leader

FOOTNOTE: Includes wines from Somontano, Campo de Borja, Calatayud & Cariñena.

Award winners

Found 14 wines

Spain: North, including Navarra

Hiruzta, Berezia, Txakoli, 2014, Getariako Txakolina , Spain

Gold medal winner

The first Txakoli Gold for SWA, with a richer version, with texture and depth. Team leader Angela Reddin felt this wine to be 'very specialised' but an ideal match with oysters, with its 'pink grapefruit, pretzel saltiness and very long, mineral finish', while Michael Fiducia of Drake's Restaurant enjoyed its 'warm nose and creamy citrus palate', and The French Table's Sarah Guignard found a 'rich palate of quince and lemon rind, pure on the finish, with camomile and herbs'.

£13.57 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Goianea, Uno, Txakoli, 2014, Arabako Txakolina , Spain

Silver medal winner

'Crab apple with light minerals on the nose and citrus,' began team leader Angela Reddin, continuing: 'Dried wild grasses, tight and tart in the mouth, with bright acidity and a fresh, clean finish.' 'Lovely stuff – vivid with pure tingly acid. Invigorating, salty and textural,' said The Tate Group's Hamish Anderson.

£11.61 Matthew Clark

Chivite, Colección 125, Chardonnay, 2013, Navarra , Spain

Silver medal winner

Michael Fiducia of Drake's Restaurant highlighted a 'warm toffee-apple nose and well-rounded, toasty palate', while The Savoy's Erik Simonics enjoyed its 'rich, intense, great complexity and long finish'.

£21.23 Enotria&Coe

Príncipe de Viana, Graciano, Roble, 2014, Navarra , Spain

Silver medal winner

'Strawberries and red fruit on the nose, easy-drinking style with light-to-medium, silky tannins. Great value, and ideal by the glass,' said Gustavo Medina of Tate Britain. 'Light and juicy with lifted raspberry and fruits of the forest,' added team leader Sam Caporn MW.

£6.34 Perfect Cellar

Príncipe de Viana, Edición Limitada, 2012, Navarra , Spain

Silver medal winner

'Prominent vanilla notes on the nose, ripe fruit with fairly high tannin levels on the palate. A serious wine for the money,' said team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£8.00 House of Townend

Finca Albret, La Viña de mi Madre, Reserva, 2010, Navarra , Spain

Silver medal winner

'Fleshy style, with dark berries and vegetal notes on an inky, plummy, long and delightful palate that's full in body but not heavy,' said consultant Luciana Girotto-Beckett. 'Showing some age, this is spicy and long with some stewed fruit,' added team leader Sam Caporn MW.

£16.00 House of Townend

Clunia, Finca el Rincón de Clunia, Burgos, 2012, Castilla y León , Spain

Silver medal winner

'Very polished, a crowd-pleasingly high-end wine with body, great balance and poise,' began Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, with team leader Laurent Richet MS adding: 'Wow, great ripe fruit in balance with the structure, intense and full bodied.'

£25.00 House of Townend

Chivite, Colección 125, Reserva, 2011, Navarra , Spain

Silver medal winner

'Like an American strong-man in a French suit!' said Bart Michalewicz of The Arts Club, adding: 'Power and elegance combined with exciting structure and ageing potential.' 'Quite structured, with good acid balance and mulberry fruit,' added team leader Sam Caporn MW.

£14.79 Enotria&Coe

Bodega de Sarría, Señorío de Sarría, Crianza, 2012, Navarra , Spain

Bronze medal winner

Consultant Luciana Girotto-Beckett found a 'wonderful, fruity nose with almondy violet notes on a soft, charming, plummy palate with a little spiciness' on this good-value red.

£6.25 Boutinot

Vintae, Winery Arts, Seis al Revés, 2011, Ribera del Queiles , Spain

Bronze medal winner

'Plenty of fruit and spice, hints of floral character, lovely complexity,' began Chris Wood of Chelsea Vintners, with The Arts Club's Bart Michalewicz noting: 'Very aromatic aromas, a big fruit bomb in the mouth, very ripe'.

£9.56 Enotria&Coe

Hiruzta, Txakoli, 2015, Getariako Txakolina , Spain

Commended medal winner

Príncipe de Viana, Edición Blanca, 2015, Navarra , Spain

Commended medal winner

£8.00 Please contact winery for further information

Bodega de Sarría, Señorío de Sarría, Chardonnay, 2015, Navarra , Spain

Commended medal winner

£5.75 Boutinot

Guelbenzu, Azul, 2012, Ribera del Queiles , Spain

Commended medal winner

£7.25 Boutinot