Navarra is one of Spain’s oldest and most unique wine regions. The vineyards here cover the foothills of the Pyrenees and benefit from a continental climate moderated by Atlantic influences. Here the practice of blending “noble grapes” such and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with the native Tempranillo has formed the stylistic profile of Navarran wines. There are many good very estates here but one that has been making itself known more and more in recent years is the highly innovative, quality obsessed producer Tandem.
In a gravity fed winery several unique wines are made and the level of care that goes into making these wines has produced astonishing results. The youngest of the wines isArs in Vitro€9.99(was €14.99) a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Merlot. Completely unoaked but receiving 24 months ageing in vats, this moves away from traditional Crianza/Reserva styles and reflects Tandem’s belief in fruit and terroir.
Ars in Vitrois a superb wine, the fruit appears in layers which reveal themselves more and more as the wine breathes. This fruit is backed by a mineral heart and savoury edge that make this a wine to be taken seriously. It is fantastic with food yet silky enough to enjoy a glass without. Think slow roast belly of pork and think of this.
Tandem was founded 11 years ago by Alicia Eyaralar (winemaker) José María Fraile and group of family and friends. Tandem being Latin for "at last" the name expresses the on-going ambition the two founders have had turn their dream into a reality.
The beating heart of Tandem is 22 hectares of vineyards owned and managed by father & son Pedro Jesús and Angel Lizarraga. These 22 hectares at 600m attitude are maintained to exacting standards and the results of this meticulous care are clearly evident in the wines.
ArsNova€16.99is the big brother toArs in Vitroand similarly this wine aims to demonstrate the quality and purity of the fruit. The blend is different, with a 40/40/20 split of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Bigger and more structured for this very reasonArsNova- after 24 months in vat - receives 9 months ageing in small French oak barrels. When you taste the wine though, it is the fruit that sings the loudest, there are complex, balsamic & spice accents to it but the fruit is beautiful ripe bramble and is just framed lightly with oak. A fabulous wine that again loves to breathe and as for food this cries out for good fillet of beef or even rich game dishes.
These wines are a far cry from the traditional vanilla scented wines of the region, they are multi-layered, engaging wines that will delight anyone that loves great “terroir” wines and I for one highly recommend a try.