Top Navarra reds: panel tasting results

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Overall a disappointing tasting for our experts, but of those that were praised Garnacha was the star offering delicate fresh cherry fruit and trouncing the tough, stewed Tempranillo. See the top-rated seven wines here...
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Navarra reds, La Calandria Pura Garnacha Cientruenos 2011
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La Calandria, Cientruenos Garnacha 2011

La Calandria, Cientruenos Garnacha 2011
Decanter average score: 18.75/20pts (95+/100pts)
Individual judges’ scores: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW 18.5 Sarah Jane Evans MW 18.75 Christine Parkinson 19
Javier Continente, Luis Fernández and Luis Remacha think life is too short to drink bad wine. ‘In fact, we dislike it so much we decided to make our own wines. With them we make our mark.’ Their focus is purely on the dwindling number of Navarra’s old-vine Garnacha plantings (hence their website www.puragarnacha.com), revived and farmed with minimum intervention. The Pura Garnacha project is just six years old but already a star of the grape’s revival in Spain. Cientruenos means ‘a hundred peals of thunder’. It’s a twist on Cintruénigo – the name of the village in the far south-east of Navarra, on the Rioja Baja border, that’s home to the Los Portillos vineyard that produces the grapes for this exceptional-value wine.
Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW Oak aromas are slightly dominant at first but then the Garnacha fruit characters open up vibrantly. A very original wine that shows a real sense of place. This vineyard has potential for greatness.
Sarah Jane Evans MW Expressive bramble and fine oak aromas on the nose. The palate is rich and full bodied with a dense expression of fruit, lively acidity, and a firmly etched peppery finish with fine tannin. Long and concentrated. This is Garnacha to a T.
Christine Parkinson Lifted strawberry compote aromas with cranberry and fresh strawberry flavours on the palate and very subtle use of oak. Juicy and fleshy with refreshing acidity, supple tannins and a very persistent finish.
Price £13.45 Berry Bros & Rudd
Drink 2014–2018
Alc 14.5%