APRIL THIRST–LEZAUN NAVARRA 2017

Though Spring is surely here, there’s no question that there is still a thirst for medium bodied, super drinkable reds. Our first selection this month hails from the Navarra DO, located just outside the famous city of Pamplona in Spain’s north. Viticulture has thrived here since before the Roman Empire, though it remains one of Spain’s more underappreciated regions to this day. Like many regions across Europe, large cooperatives reign in Navarra, where small growers can band together to sell their grapes to large winemakers. Though this is a good system for those uninterested in winemaking, the quality of the resulting wine varies wildly, with quantity over quantity often being the dominant mindset. Our particular version is from a small grower, Lezaun, who is committed to preserving important traditions–responsible farming, working by hand, and minimal intervention winemaking.

TASTING: On the nose, Lezaun’s lovely Navarra is exuberant in its fruity and herbal nature–giving up notes of wild blackberry, black pepper, and fresh earth. On the palate, you’ll find this wine both fresh and grippy, with chewy yet rustic tannins highlighting its black and blue fruit profile. It is at once a refreshing red yet one that stays with you, making it a real crowd pleaser. It will pair beautifully with everything from grilled veggies to cheeseburgers. For a next-level pairing, try it with our recipe for Sausage ‘Cassoulet’.

MORE: Now, to the details. Raúl Lezaun’s Navarra Tinto is the product of organically farmed, hand-picked grapes, the majority of which are Tempranillo with a small percentage of Grenache and Merlot. His vineyards are planted to soils dominant in limestone and clay, the oldest of which were planted in 1940. In the winery, Raúl adheres strictly to tenets of natural winemaking nearly unheard of at this price point–native yeast fermentation, nothing added or taken away, minimal-to-no filtration. The result is a pure and lively young red meant for enjoyment.