Discover Navarra …Spain’s Best Kept Secret

When you are not running with the bulls on Pamplona Spain for the annual  running of the bulls, (Sanfermines) then you should be drinking their wines of Navarra.

Navarra vineyards are located in the North of Spain at the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains to the Ebro river basin and the Bardenas Reales desert. Navarra is just a 4 hour train ride from Madrid.

No surprise that Chardonnay is produced here bit it is a surprise on how delicious it is and what a value these Chardonnays are.

2005 Bodegas Castillo de Monjardin E; Cerezo This is a non oaked Chardonnay. There is varietal characteristic purity with a little extra acidity.

This is at SRP of $13

2015 Bodegas Vega de Castillo Garnacha Cepas Viejas This 100% 2015-bodegas-vega-castillo-garnacha-cepas-viejas-mfwiGarnacha wine is aged for 3 months in American oak. These 46 year old vineyards are located in the Ribera Alta area.

This wine just screams freshness. Starting from it bright ruby color to its fresh cheery aromas. On the palate there is just the right amount of tannin to keep this easy drinking. There is floral cherry in the finish  with a good balance of tannin and acidity.  SRP of $10.

These are just two examples of how food friendly the Wines of Navarra are.


2012 Messias Brut Milesime and Santola Vinho Verde Wine with Caviar

November 23, 2016

A sparkling wine from Portugal meets the White Sturgeon caviar from Lady Elena The 2015 Santola Vinho Verde also joined the tasting for added fun. With an image of a crab on the label and caviar, it seemed to be an opportunity to find a fun filled value wine to pair with caviar.

2012 Messias Brut Milesime Sparkling 

This sparkler is a blend of  Baga, Bical and Chardonnay from the Bairrada region. The soils here are limestone and clay. This sparkler is made in the traditional method with it’s second fermentation in the bottle.  The wine has a straw color with it exciting bubbles. There are aromas of apples and citrus with some toastiness. On the palate there is some roundness given to the wine. The finish is dry and crisp.

Lady Elena Caviar Pairing
Americana Caviar (White Sturgeon): The freshness of the fruit persists as the palate is cleansed.

2015 Santola Vinho Verde
This wine is from the Vinho Verde region with its Granitic soil. The wine is a blend of Loureiro and Pederna grapes. Freshness is what this wine is about. There are aromas of lemons and limes with salty minerality. On the palate you feel the ripeness of the citrus with its freshness. This finishes dry with some lingering lime.

Lady Elena Caviar Pairing
Americana Caviar (White Sturgeon): This combination brings out the sweet creaminess of the White Sturgeon caviar. I think the crab on the label could use a necklace of caviar pearls. A great value wine to enjoy with this caviar.

2010 Alambre Moscatel de Setubal Wine Paired With White Sturgeon Caviar

November 1, 2016

Today we are pairing the 2010 Alambre Muscatel de Setúbal wine of Jose Maria Da Fonseca Vinhos.

Setúbal wine is from the wine region Península de Setúbal which is south of Lisbon. The vineyards mainly have a limestone and sandy soil with a Mediterranean climate. With the vineyards being on the Serra da Arrábida slopes there are cooler nights that creates nightly humidity coming from the Tagus River Basin. The humidity is a big source of the grapes water since this is a very dry area with little rain in the summer.

Setúbal is sweet and fortified, made primarily from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. It can be labelled Moscatel de Setúbal when Muscat makes up more than 85 per cent of the blend.

This 2010 Alambre Muscatel de Setúbal has a light amber golden color. There are sweet aromas of honey and candied oranges. On the palate some there is some nuttiness with a balance of acidity that keeps the wine soft and sweet but not cloying. In the finish the nuttiness is more prominent and the balanced acidity leaves some of the sweetness lingering. ( This wine has a ABV of 17.5% and residual sugars of 127 grams per liter)

Lady Elena Caviar Pairing2010-jose-maria-da-fonseca-alambre-moscatel-de-setubal-with-white-sturgeon-caviar-watermark

Americana (White Sturgeon): Here we are very complimentary with the nuttiness of both and we have the contrast of the sweetness with the salty. With this wine, this results in slight creaminess remaining and a cleansed palate. A great Lady Elena Caviar and wine pairing.




Casa Do Arrabalde White Wine With White Sturgeon Caviar

015-casa-doarrabalde-with-white-sturgeon-caviarOctober 28, 2016

Here is a wine that is produced using sustainable farming practices. Caviar from is also sustainably farmed. With this, it is already a good pairing.

This winery, Casa Do Arrabalde is located in the sub region of Baiao in the region of Vinho Verde where the vines are planted in a Grantic soil.

2015 Casa do Arrabalde is a blend of the regional grape varieties of Avesso, Alvarinho and Arinto. This wine went through maloactic fermentation and was fermented in stainless steel.

The wine has pale straw color with green tints. There are aromas of ripe tropical fruits, lime and some minerality. This all flows through a short dry finish.

Lady Elena Caviar and Wine Pairing

Americana Caviar (White Sturgeon): The minerality of the wine meets the caviar and the fruit flows over the palate and lingers on the finish. A great Lady Elena Caviar and wine pairing.




Trãs os Montes Wine Region of Portugal

August 28,2014

DOC Trãs os Montes

Vinho Regional Transmontano

Trás os Montes translates to “Beyond the Mountains”.Scene of the Portuguese Region of Trás os Montes

Trás os Montes is the wine region located in the northeastern corner of Portugal next to the Trás os Montes Wine Region of PortugalVinho Verde region and above the Douro region. Beyond the Mountains they are. The mountain ranges create a break from any coastal influences and provide its own influences. Many wineries have their vineyards at altitudes of 1,150 to 2,300 feet above sea level. The soils of this region are mostly granite and schist. With the mountains and valleys there are many micro climates but in general the climate is continental with very cold winters and dry hot summers.


Trás os Montes has three sub regions where Vinhi Regional Transmontano can receive Map of the Sub Regions of Trás os Montes of Portugalthe denomination of origin status.

1) Planalto Mirandés

2) Valpacos

3) Chaves

The main grape varieties grown in Trás os Montes region are

White varieties: Côdega de Larinho, Fernão Pires, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, Síria and Viosinho.

Red varieties: Bastardo, Marufo, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira.

DOC Távora Varosa The Portuguese Sparkling Wine Region

August 25,2014

Vinho Regional Terras de Cister

The Távora Varosa region borders the Douro to the north and the Dao region to the south.DOC Tavora Varosa Wine Region in Portugal

In Távora Varosa  the vineyards are planted in granite and schist soils at 1600 to 2600 feet above sea level. The climate is continental with very cold and wet winters and hot and dry summers. With the vineyards at the altitudes of 1600 to 2600 feet above sea level there are much cooler nights allowing the grapes to maintain their acidity and fresh fruit flavor. With such qualities, the grapes are best used to produce sparkling wines.

The main grape varieties grown in Távora Varossa region are:

White varieties: Bical, Cerceal, Chardonnay, Fernão Pires, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Pinot Branco

Red varieties: Aragonez, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca

2012 Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas Portuguese Wine

August 20,2014

Following up with the prior post here is another wine made with the Portuguese grape variety of Alvarinho. This  wine is also from Soalheiro in Melgaco of the Vinho Verde region of Portugal.

This wine is made from the Alvarinho grapes picked from the family’s Melgaco estate oldest vines which were planted in 1982. 85% of the wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks with the remaining 15% fermenting in older oak barrels until when the wine is bottled in the month of May following the harvest.

2012 Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas Wine Review2012 Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas

This wine is 100% made from the Alvarinho grape variety. The wine has a pale straw color in the glass. There are floral aromas of pears, tropical fruits with some grassiness. On the palate it is full bodied with delicious creaminess added to the pithy tropical flavors. The finish is dry with soft floral notes. With the full body mouth feel, the 2012 Soallheiro Primeiras Vinhas is delicious as an aperitif or with light creamy seafood dishes.

2012 Soalheiro Alvarinho and the Alvarinho Grape

August 19,2014

Alvarinhoalvarinho grape variety

This varietal is mostly found in the north western part of Portugal in the Vinho Verde region and planted in the northern part of the region in the sub regions of Moncão and Melgaco. With this varietal you will find it to be floral, with peaches, tropical and citrus fruits. The soils in this region are mainly granite which gives the Alvarinho its minerality.  It is a dry wine that has potential for ageing.


2012 Soalheiro Alvarinho2012 Soalheiro Alvarinho

This wine is from the vineyards of granite soils in the sub region of Vinho Verde of Melgaco at latitude of 42°. It is100% made from the Alvarinho grape variety. The wine has a pale straw color in the glass. There are aromas of fresh peaches with tropical fruits. On the palate the wine has a medium body feel with flowery sweet lychees. The wine finishes dry with floral tropical notes and mouth watering acidity. The 2012 Soallheiro is delicious as an aperitif or with light seafood dishes



2012 Quinta Do Boicão Reserva White and Arinto / Pedernã Grape

August 15,2014

Arinto/ Pedernã Grape Variety of Portugal


Lisboa Wine Region

Wine Region of Lisboa

The Arinto gape variety is grown throughout Portugal but is mostly found in the Bucelas subregion of Lisboa which is just north of Lisbon at latitude of 39°. In the Vinho Verde region this variety is known as Pedernã. Arinto is a late ripening grape variety with lively acidity and minerality. With this lively acidity this Arinto variety finds its way into the sparkling wines of Portugal. The lively acidity also makes it a great blending grape for wines in warmer climate which produce low acid growing grapes such as in the Alentejo and Ribatejo regions.


Arinto Grape Variety of PortugalFrom a glass of Arinto you will mostly find aromas and flavors of apples, lemons and limes with some salty minerals that have a crisp finish. Another great wine for those light seafood dishes.

Quinta Do Boicão


Quinta Do Boicão is located about 26 miles north of Lisbon.

The vineyards are planted on clay and limestone soils. The Arinta grape variety is planted on clay soils and is from 25 year old vines. The vineyards have an oceanic climate of warm and dry summers and cold winters.

2012 Quinta Do Boicão Reserva White2012 Quinta Do Boicão Reserva White Arinto Portuguese White Wine

The wine has a pale straw color with green tints. There are aromas of fresh pears, apples, peaches with some salty minerals. On the palate this is a medium bodied plus wine with some spiciness mixed with all the fresh fruit. On the mouth watering finish, citrus notes appear with the spiciness. With the grapes starting fermentation in stainless steel tanks and the last 15 days of fermentation being performed in new French oak barrels, you can feel and taste the wines delicate complexities.



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