by Nik Rasula
About Wine features wines not typically on one’s shopping radar; unique wines with a story – of people, place or style. It tells of artisans making reasonably priced wines (under C$50 retail) while demonstrating careful Earth consideration.
2014 Bagordi, Navardia Graciano Rioja D.O.C., Spain
About Context: Established in 1723, Bagordi Winery’s owners, the Carcar family, have been making wine for 14 generations. Located in northern Spain, between the Rivers Ebro and Ega, its vineyards lie just within the boundaries of the Basque region of Navarre. However, sharing common considerations (culture, language, history, landscape, climate, winemaking tradition) with the region of Rioja, Spanish authorities allow Bagordi Rioja designation.
About D.O.C.: Denominación de Origin Calificada (Denomination of Qualified Origin) is the ranking hierarchy of Spain’s wine regions. Determined by quality and consistency over time; considerations include, crop yields, grape calibre, winemaking inputs, production methods, and ageing requirements. Consisting of five levels, Rioja and one other region, Priorat, occupy its top level (designated as D.O.C.a).
About Terroir: Consisting of 58 hectares at 400 metres above sea level, between the towns of Andosilla and San Adriàn, rolling slopes of loamy silt and small rock particles provide Navardia vines nutrient uptake, water runoff, and deep root penetration. Northerly winds from the Pyrenees – called Cierzo – serve to cool, aerate, and refresh. Hot, dry summers followed by long, cool winters qualify the area’s climate as Continental Mediterranean.
About the Grape: Known by other names including, Bastardo (no, I’m not kidding), Xeres, Morrastel, and Cagnulari, Graciano is native to northern Spain. Traditionally, it has been used to add structure and ageing ability to Rioja’s Tempranillo-based blends. A low-yielding and late-ripening red grape, forward thinking winemakers are replanting with Graciano to help cope with the impacts of rising temperatures.
About the Wine: One hundred percent Graciano, Navardia pours a beautiful medium ruby red. In the glass, heady aromas of violet, peppermint, and black currant impress. The medium-bodied palate features refreshing flavours of baked plum, cocoa, and mineral. The finish is clean and considerable. Decanting one to two hours allows flavours to open, softening appreciably.
About Pairing: Grilled spiced lamb, grilled chorizo, Jamón Ibérico, blackened snapper.
About Sustainability: Clarified with pea protein extract – Vegan status pending. Certified Organic by the EU.
About Price: C$27
About Alcohol Level: 14% abv
About Availability: Check liquorconnect.com (call the listed store too) confirming availability.