Bodegas Ochoa is a family run firm located in Olite, Ribera Alta, the center of the D.O. Navarra, and the ancient capital of the kingdom of Navarra. The Ochoa family has a long history of winemaking in Navarra; documents record sales of wine to the royal family as early as 1370. In more recent times, Javier Ochoa helped resuscitate the Navarra wine industry in his twelve years as Director of EVENA. We traveled to Navarra and visited Bodegas Ochoa for our earlier report on Wines of Navarra.
Bodegas Ochoa is a research-oriented winery that produces a number of wines sourced entirely from its own vineyards (145 ha). They farm organically, use massal selection for new plantings and to continually improve the vineyards, and use yeasts from the vineyard for fermentation. Continuing the Ochoa tradition, Adriana (shown here), daughter of Javier and Mariví, is chief winemaker while her sister, Beatriz, manages the commercial side of the winery.
Navarra is Spain’s northernmost political region, bordering France with which it shares the Pyrenées mountains. It’s a diverse region with a highly varied topography that includes snow-capped mountains, the plains of the Ebro River valley, and even Europe’s only desert. It offers an incredible diversity of growing conditions, which explains in part the relatively large number of varietals that can be grown well.
The US importer is Wine Bridge Imports.
Ochoa 2020 Calendas Chardonnay Viura Navarra 89 Medium yellow straw. This unusual blend is fresh and fruity. It reveals a floral, peach flower, pear and melon nose that bears more than a passing resemblance to Viognier. It’s crisp on the attack and easy drinking on a palate of citrus and white pit fruit, finishing with a bright note of lemony acidity. A blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Viura. 13% alc.
Ochoa 2020 Calendas Rosado Navarra ($15) 89 Dark pink in color, the Calendas Rosado offers scents of red fruit complemented by light herbal notes. It’s packed with sweet red berry and cherry fruit, but the palate is dry and clean, finishing with lingering fresh strawberry notes. A very good aperitif style rosado. A blend of 70% Garnacha and 30% Tempranillo sourced from El Bosque vineyard with calcareous clay soils, made using the saignée method. This review appeared earlier in our recent report, Roses from Around the World.
Ochoa 2019 Calendas Tempranillo Navarra 90 This is a delicious, straightforward Tempranillo packed with the flavor of dark red fruit, nicely balanced, and perfect for pairing with comfort foods like pizza and ribs. 100% Tempranillo. Fermented and aged in stainless steel.
Ochoa 2011 Gran Reserva Navarra 92 Opaque dark ruby. Showing an earthy, dark fruited bouquet, this is a big, savory wine that’s rich and full on a smoothly textured palate. It offers dense flavors of red and black fruit and a rich, long-lasting finish. But even ten years after the vintage the tannins are pretty dry. Make sure you pair this wine with a rich meat dish. A blend of 60% Tempranillo, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes matured 24 months in new French and American oak barriques. 14% alc.
Ochoa 2017 La Foto de 1938 Seria 8A Navarra 91 Dark ruby. Showing an herbal tinged, earthy, dark red fruited nose, this red blend offers tangy dark red fruit accented by fresh garden thyme and oregano. There’s very good richness and complexity on the palate, but this is a wine that would show best with the right food, perhaps a savory daube de boeuf Provençal or a Spanish chilindron. A blend of 30% Graciano, 30% Tempranillo, 30% Merlot and 10% Garnacha, each handled and fermented separately and matured 9 months in used American and French oak barriques. 13.5% alc.
Ochoa 2012 Reserva Navarra 92 An intricate bouquet of red plum, spicey oak and savory herbs gives way to an appealing attack of earthy, dark fruit on a silky smooth palate. The Reserva is nicely structured, quite elegant in character, and finishing with good length and firm, round tannins. Ready to drink now. A blend of Tempranillo, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon matured in French and American oak barriques for more than one year and then further aged in bottle until ready to drink. 14% alc.