Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pilgrimage to the Navarra with Bodega Inurrieta

It’s been some time since I joined my Wine Pairing Weekend friends so we’re venturing away from Italy and taking a short jaunt over to the Navarra in Spain.  If you’re not familiar with the Navarra it is located in northern Spain at the base of the Pyrenees Mountains.  It’s near Pamplona and part of the Camino de Santiago (the pilgrimage route of St. James), which was used amongst monks traveling to France and is partially why French grapes are part of vineyard life in the Navarra.
Navarra wine region featuring Ribera Alta
Wine region of the Navarra sourced from
Today I'm sharing the wines of Bodega Inurrieta.  They are situated in 1 of the 5 sub zones known as the Ribera Alta district of Navarra.  This is considered the heart of the Navarra and home to the Navarra D.O. headquarters.  This D.O. is one of the oldest in the country created in 1933 and consists of about 90 wineries and 2,500 growers.  The red grapes dominate the landscapes by about 90% over whites.  The Ribera Alta is a warmer section of the Navarra with the Rio Elga flowing through the land.
Bodega Inurrieta wine cellars
Bodega Inurrieta Ribera Alta
The winery is named after the land where the ancestors grew vines over 100 years ago.  The vines of today were planted back in 1999 with the first bottle release in 2003.  As the President Juan Maria Antonana states “Inurrieta is a young winery but our family has a long tradition in the world of wine.” The wineries altitude ranges from 300-480 and consists of 3 different soil types so they are able to produce 6 different grape varietals including sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, graciano and garnacha.
Bodega Inurrieta wines of Navarra
Bodega Inurrieta Ribera Alta wines
I tried both their sauvignon blanc known as Orchidea and their Crianza blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon known as Cuatrocientos.  Check out the pairings!

2017 Inurrieta Orchidea Sauvignon Blanc
Brilliant, crystal pale yellow in color with a tinge of green.  On the nose the aromatics are jumping out of the glass with waves of tropical fruits (pineapples and grapefruits). A light to medium bodied wine rich in tropical fruit with vegetal undertones.  Well balanced.
Pairing: I paired this wine with a pintxo appetizer topped with salted ham, roasted peppers and goat cheese drizzled with some delicious extra virgin olive oil I received from Azienda Agricola Pernigo.  I was a big fan of this pairing as the acidity and tropical notes of the wine integrated well with the savory ham along with the peppers and goat cheese.
2017 Bodega Inurrieta Orchidea Sauvignon Blanc
Inurrieta Cuatrocientos Crianza Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is a blend of 60% merlot and 40% cabernet sauvignon.  Crianza in the Navarra has a requirement of 24 months aging with a minimum of 9 months in barrel.  Bodega Inurrieta uses both French and American oak.  This wine is deep, dark ruby in color.  Sweet smelling on the nose and rich in blackberries and raspberries as well as on the palatte.  A full bodied, meaty wine with vanilla notes from the barrel aging.

Pairing: I paired with this stuffed peppers filled with turkey, black beans, diced red peppers and corn.     
2011 Bodega Inurrieta Cuatrocientos Crianza
If you catch this in time join us live on Twitter Saturday April 14th at #WinePW as we chat all about the food and wine of the Navarra wine region in Spain.
Jill Barth of L'Occasion: "Eat and Drink like Hemingway in Spain’s Navarra Region"
Nancy Brazil of Pull That Cork: "Wines of Navarra and a Meal to Match" 
David Crowley of Cooking Chat: "Steak with Manchego Mushroom Sauce with Red Wine from Navarra" 
Jade Helm of Tasting Pour: "Lamb Sofrito Nachos Night of Navarra Wines" 
Nicole Ruiz Hudson of Somm's Table: "Cooking to the Wine: Senorio de Otazu and Broiled Skirt Steak with Romesco Sauce" 
Wendy Klik of A Day in The Life on the Farm: "A taste of Navarra Spain
Camilla M. Mann of Culinary Adventures with Camilla: "Pacific Rock Crab Claws + 2016 Otazu Merlot Rosado " 
Jane Niemeyer of Always Ravenous: "What Foods to Pair with Wines from Navarra Spain
Sarah Ozimek of Curious Cuisiniere: "Basic Spanish Flan and Navarra Wine" 
Cindy Rynning of Grape Experiences: "¡Salud! to Tapas Night and the Wines of Navarra" 
Julie Santiago of Wine N Friends: "Taste of Pintxos and Navarra Wines" 
Rupal Desai Shankar The Syrah Queen: "Navarra - Spain’s Hidden Gem" 
Lauren Walsh The Swirling Dervish: "Sipping and Cooking with Patxaran: a Taste of Ancient Navarra
Host Gwendolyn Alley The Wine Predator: "Along the Way with Wine and Food from Navarra Spain."    
Bodega Inurrieta  Navarra wine region 

Wines were received as samples, but opinions are always my own.  Information sourced from Bodega Inurrieta and 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Verdicchio of the Marche with Tenuta di Tavignano

This month our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is exploring verdicchio from all over Italy.  One of the areas I am most familiar with when it comes to verdicchio is the region of Le Marche, which is located in central Italy.  Le Marche has a long coastline along the Adriatic and touches 5 other regions to its west including Emilia Romagna to the north, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio to the west and Abruzzo to the south. 

When considering verdicchio from Le Marche wine region there are 2 main wines to consider.  Those from Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica.  I have previously wrote a comparison of the two verdicchio some time back that you can read more about.  You’ll also find this grape in the wines of the Veneto, specifically those of Soave where its known as trebbiano di soave.  There it is used as a blending grape with garganega lending it’s high acidity characteristic.

Tenuta di Tavignano is located in the town of Cingoli in the Ancona province.  Set up on a south-eastern sloping hill overlooking the Jesi valley the winery is surrounded by mountains including the Appenines and Mount San Vicino.  You’ll find the vineyards of Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi located on the northern side of the Misa river.  The Jesi were an ancient tribe that resided on the castelli, or castles, situated on top of the hillsides as Tenuta di Tavignano is.
Tenuta di Tavignano Marche wine region
The history of the winery goes back to the 70’s when it was purchased by Stefano Aymerich and his wife Beatrice Lucangeli, a descendant of nobility in the Marche region.  They didn’t begin to start thoughts of making wine until the 90’s when they revamped the estate and planted grape varietals.  Their goal was to become a producer of top quality verdicchio.  Today the winery is managed by Stefano’s niece, Ondine de la Feld on 30 hectacres of vineyards.  The winery since 2015 has also been working towards being organic.
Ondine de la Feld and Stefano Aymerich Tenuta di Tavignano
Ondine de la Feld (left) & Stefano Aymerich (right)
All their grapes are hand harvested and whites are softly pressed at low fermentation temperatures.  I had a bottle of their 2014 Tenuta di Tavignano Villa Torre Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore that I opened this week.  I wish I had time to prepare something with it, but it was a very enjoyable wine all on its own.  I know everyone is all about wine pairings, but I thoroughly enjoy having wine solo before any pairings are involved anyways. 

2014 Tenuta di Tavignano Villa Torre Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Superiore
Color: brilliantly crystal, straw color with a tinge of green, almost clear.
Nose: Grassy, citrus, grapefruit.
Palette: A crisp, dry white wine with a nice balance of fruit, lemon citrus backed with solid acidity, good sapidity and minerals.
ABV 13% SRP $11

Pairing: Due to its proximity to the sea I can definitely see this wine pairing well with seafood dishes. 

It saddens me that so many people are out there drinking cheap pinot grigio when they can get such fantastic white wines like this verdicchio for such great values, but don’t have the knowledge of what a verdicchio is.  Hopefully we help break some of that here on Vino Travels.

*Pictures copyright of Tenuta di Tavignano

Friday, April 6, 2018

Vino Travels Celebrates 5 years!

Gosh time flies!  It's hard to believe that the thought of starting a blog 5 years ago has brought me to where I am today.  This month Vino Travels celebrates its 5 year anniversary.  I started this blog as an idea to encourage myself to learn more about Italian wine weekly by doing researching and sharing the gained knowledge with my readers.  I never thought it would have taken me on the long journey it has.

I've met so many great folks in the industry mostly online, but also in person via events that I have attended.  My greatest accomplishment was becoming certified as an Italian Wine Specialist with the North American Sommelier Association.  I've made blogger friends all around the world having the ability to be able to meet some of them in person.  I've been fortunate to have visited Italy by invitation on a couple of occasions to dig into the wine regions, meet winemakers and tour the facilities with more offerings recently, but unfortunately my 2 little bundles of joy that I've had over the past couple years have kept me from doing so.  It's only a moment in time and I know I'll be able to get back over there soon and be able to share some of those personal explorations with you soon enough.
My reasons for the recent slow down on blog, but all worth it, dont you think?!
I wanted to thank all my readers for the support in following my journey as I further explore my passion for Italian wine.  There is always more to learn, especially in the world of wine. I highly encourage you to reach out to me as I love to hear from readers whether it's to share your thoughts on my blogs, what you'd like to see more of or just tell me a little about yourself as I love to hear all about everyone's passion for all things Italian or wine related.  I wish I heard from my readers more.

Here's to tasting many more great Italian wines, sharing more stores and another great 5+ years.  Cin cin!