A vibrant Garnacha that packs a punch in the flavour department. The nose is spicy, with clove, pepper against a backdrop of cherry fruit. More juicy red fruit on the palate is balanced by bright acidity and supple tannins, leading to a lingering finish of plum and spice. This wine is a collaborative project from respected Navarra producer Viña Zorzal and our very own Ben Henshaw. Grapes are from a high, rocky vineyard where the northerly “cierzo” wind, which winemaker Xabi Sanz puts gives freshness and ‘edge to the wine’.
Their collaboration with Ben Henshaw from Indigo Wines in the UK is the 2019 Sea of Dreams, a pure Garnacha from the paraje Corral de los Altos where they produce other wines. This one, from a low-yielding, healthy vintage with lower than average pHs, fermented in concrete with indigenous yeasts and some 30% full clusters and matured in used 500-liter oak barrels for nine months. This is very drinkable, with contained ripeness (13.5% alcohol), very balanced, clean and pure, very Garnacha. They skipped the 2018, so this is only the second vintage after the initial 2017. 1,800 bottles were filled in July 2021.
Pale ruby. Rich, high-toned nose. Some real punch and with structure too. And to think they used to look down on Navarra Garnacha! Lots going on here and no hurry to drink. VGV (Very Good Value) 13.5%, Drink 2021 – 2026.
Navarra is much less well known than neighbouring Rioja, but they are both rich in the Grenache and Graciano grapes, and wines can have similar characters. The Sanz brothers - Iñaki, Xabi and Mikel - started working with their father in 2007. They work with mainly higher altitude plots and are carefully nurturing the older bush vines that grow there.
With the brothers onboard the project took a new direction, focusing on the terroir and old vines around Fitero, on the edge of the Ebro River valley at the base of the Iberian mountains. They are mapping their vineyards by soil type so they can make a Burgundy-style classification of their Garnacha wines.
These bright, juicy reds and pure, textured whites are full of character and show the potential of this often-overlooked area. Luis Gutiérrez describes Zorzal as: "one of the most dynamic producers not only in Navarra but in the whole of Spain!"
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