We spend our last wine day in Navarra and were given a royal welcome at Bodegas Nekeas. The winery is a kind of cooperative owned by 12 families who pooled their resources in 1997 and grow grapes, olives and grains.

The vineyards are planted with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tempranillo, grenache and chardonnay on 150 hectares with an additional 200 hectares of olive trees. Some of the grenache vineyards as well olive trees are over 100 years old. Nekeas has its own trujal or olive press and produces 180,000 bottles of extra virgin and virgin olive oil and 1.3 million bottles of wine.

Paco San Martin is the founder and director of Nekeas and he accompanied us on a bus tour of the Paco, Director of Nekeas

 

vineyards. I had to use my translation skills since Paco only speaks Spanish. Back at the winery, our wine tasting was conducted by Concha Vecino, the first female winemaker of Navarra. (60% of the winemakers now are female).

It was an honor and delight to hear her philosophy and interpretations of her wines. Nekeas does very little barrel aging because as Concha says, “I like to taste my grapes, not wood.” Nekeas exports 60% of its wines and in the US, the wine is known as Vega Sindoa.

Concha, Nekeas winemaker

Concha, Nekeas winemaker

Concha gave us 4 wines to taste: Vega Sindoa chardonnay 2014 with a delicious fruity aroma and taste. Two weeks ago, the Wine Spectator called it ‘one of the best white wines of Spain;’ Vega Sindoa cabernet sauvignon 2013, with lots of fruit and enough soft tannins to give it 5-10 years of enjoyment; Nekeas Reserva 2010 (not sold in the US), a 50/50 blend of cab and merlot, an elegant wine with finesse; Chaparral 2013 made from old vine grenache, a spectacular spicy wine priced at 7,4 euros at the winery- a ganga!

With our buffet lunch of specialties from Navarra, we were served the chardonnay, merlot, cabernet, Chaparral and a special treat, Izar Reserva 2009, not sold in the US and what a pity! Azar means ‘star’ and its their top wine, a beautiful complex blend of tempranillo, cabernet and merlot, and a steal at 15 euros.

Our buffet consisted of: white asparagus, Tudela lettuce, Piperras peppers, Cantabrian anchovies and tuna, Joselito ham,tomatoes, ajorriero(traditional cod stew and vegetables), Piquillo peppers, Chistorra sausage, croquettes of ham and mushrooms, duck micuit foie, Roncal cheese, Colmenar Viejo goat cheese, fruit salad, fresh fruit, lemon cake and membrillo, topped off with Pacharán, a local liquor made from arañon or sloe berries.

More on winery: Bodegas Nekeas

UPDATE 11/04/2015: You can read all about our Basque food and wine tour in the articles below:

Author Vin Marottoli

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