Bodegas Nekeas Viura-Chardonnay 2002
Although the scenic Valley of Valdizarbe has always been considered one of the best areas of production in Navarra, and viticulture here is centuries old (proved by documents from the 15th century unearthed in Añorbe), viticulture in this region was threatened during the 20th century due to depressed grape prices and extreme weather conditions.
Bodegas Nekeas became one of the first wineries to bring back life to the wine making Traditions of this valley. Although the winery has evolved in the three decades since its birth, the eight founding families: Lizarraga, Urricelqui, Sola, Lacunza, San Martin, Huarte, Erviti, and Echarte, remain committed to the care of the land and the tradition of wine making that was passed down from generation to generation.
The original leader of the group, Francisco San Martin, is still the acting president. Manuel Urricelqui is the technical director, and Concha Vecino is the general manager and winemaker.
The winery produces a diversity of high quality, affordable wines from both indigenous grapes and international varieties. Cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay on trellis mixes with old, gnarled vine Garnacha and Tempranillo. Nekeas’ top wine, El Chapparal de Vega Sindoa, is one of Spain’s most unique Garnachas. Navarra is a region that typically used its old vine Garnacha for the production of rosés, but Bodegas Nekeas decided to take its oldest single Garnacha vineyard, planted 80 years ago, and produce an Atlantic expression of Garnacha that is completely unique compared to the warmer climate expressions found elsewhere in Spain.
With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended white wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used in white wine blends, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a soft and full-bodied white wine blend, like Chardonnay, would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
Rueda is located along the banks of the Duero River in Spain’s Castilla y León region, just a 2-hour drive north of Madrid. While winemaking in this area goes back to the 12th century, it was in the 1980s that the region was granted Denominación de Origen (D.O.) status. Today, more than 70 wineries call Rueda home. This national favorite is the top-selling white wine in Spain.
Notable facts Rueda’s main grape variety, Verdejo, gets it distinct complexity from stressful growing conditions and mineral-rich soil. Think of Verdejo as a fuller-bodied and more aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. A lush and smooth character with perfectly balanced acidity means Rueda wines pair well with seafood, fresh salads and spicy food, but are also great on their own.