Very Good Wines From The Badlands

Superb Wines From Spain's Badlands

Badlands? In Spain? You may well ask. The Bardenas Reales is a semi-desert natural region, or badlands, of some 42,000 hectares in southeast Navarre (Spain). The soils are made up of clay, chalk and sandstone and have been eroded by water and wind, creating surprising shapes, canyons, plateaus, tabular structures and isolated hills. Here there is extremely arid soil where the vines are grown organically. And this is where you’ll find Azul y Garanza.

Azul y Garanza  “Naturaleze Salvaje” Navarra (DO) 2017, 13%, €21.85 Mary Pawle

The Intro: a limited edition, single vineyard, organic, low intervention, unfiltered red wine made from 100% Garnacha in the northern Spanish province of Navarra. “Naturally wild”.

The Lowdown: Mid to dark ruby. Red fruit, berry and cherry, in the attractive aromas, strongly fruity on the palate and a touch of sweet spice.  A fresh and sufficient acidity ensures harmony through to the satisfying dry finish. 

The Conclusion: Another well-made wine from the enterprising outfit that is Azul y Garanza, a terrific example of the Garnacha, and Very Highly Recommended.

The Background: The Garnacha vines have an average age of 40 years and grow at an altitude of 550 meters. They add: "The wine spends 6 months in amphora and 6 months in used 300 L barrels. Fertilizer: No Treatments: Sulphur (minimum dose). Eminently drinkable especially with lighter meat dishes, rich seafood, warm salads."

Tip for opening the bottle: the cork is sealed with wax. Don’t worry. Get out your waiter’s helper type corkscrew. Many easy-pull type corkscrews just can’t handle the wax. Simply angle your corkscrew into the top of the wax. Next, slowly twist the auger in, as you gradually bring your corkscrew to an upright position. Proceed as normal and the circle of wax on top will come away with the cork. This is fine at home but openings in a restaurant may require a little more finesse!

Desierto de Azul y Garanza Navarra (DO) 2007, 14%, €39.00 Mary Pawle

“Desierto is an exclusive wine made solely by the grapes from our Desierto (desert) vineyard.”

The purity of the nearby desert gives the vineyard an advantageous pathway to produce this bio wine without too much trouble. Perhaps the biggest human intervention is its 15 months in French oak.

Intense cherry colour with some lightening on the rim. Aromas are of ripe dark fruit, some savoury notes, and also smoky notes. Flavours deep and long-lasting, amazing concentration, fleshy, with a persistent finish. A singular wine from a pretty unique location and Very Highly Recommended.

There was a little bit of sediment in the 2007! Didn’t note that though when I enjoyed the 2012 a few months earlier. But no bother in any case.