Wine guide

Aug 10th

Wine from the Ochoa family

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Hola todos and welcome.

Following our latest wine tasting evening where the stars of the night were the vinos of Ochoa, I’m going to feature two of my favourites.

First up I must declare an interest here as the Ochoa family are good friends of ours and the Izquierdo family have been selling their vinos for over 20 years!

From the region of Navarra in, central northern Spain, with the foothills of the Pyrenees to the north and the river Ebro rising to the south, Bodegas Ochoa are based in Olite, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Navarre. The soil here is chalky with gravel under fertile topsoil giving a good yield to the vines and depth and character to the vinos. Famous for those classic northern varietals of Tempranillo and Garnacha, Navarra also has considerable plantings of French grape varieties, revealing its long history with the winemakers of Bordeaux. Historically famous for making some of the best Rose vinos in Spain, Navarra now make quality vinos of all colours!

The name ‘Ochoa’ first appears in wine history in 1370, when the wife of King Carlos II ordered 216.5 ‘carapitos’ of vino from Ochoa de Ayanz! The current generations of the family are obsessive about the quality of their vinos only using grapes planted, pruned and harvested from their own vineyards and the results of this obsessiveness in wine making are evident in the consistency and quality of their vinos.

Ochoa Mil Gracias 2008 Crianza a red vino from Navarra 13.5%vol 100% Graciano

I love this as it’s so different to almost every other Spanish vino on the market. Made by Adriana, the sixth generation of winemakers in her direct family line, who along with her sister Beatrix are bringing new and contemporary ideas to run alongside their traditional family vinos.

Adriana uses the Graciano grape, which most winemakers, particularly those of Rioja, use as a blending grape but with its classic characteristics of strong aromas and deep flavours, even given its low yield, it’s surprising more winemakers don’t make 100% varietals.

The Mil Gracias has a vivid deep colour with a beautiful nose of ripe black fruits and white pepper. On the palate it explodes with flavours of fruit, herbs and chocolate, soft with pleasant tannins from the light touch of oak but this vino is not all jammy and overripe, the balance is perfect. As I said, not a typical Spanish vino but if you’re looking for something different this is a firm favourite.

Goes well with Spanish cured meats (I love it with Morcilla), lamb and roasted vegetables. In this warm weather it’s fabulous slightly chilled, making the perfect accompaniment to a BBQ.

Ochoa Reserva 2006 a red vino from Navarra 14%vol Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon

The Daddy of Ochoa vinos made by the patriarch of the family Javier. He takes great care to select from only the best harvests, the finest grapes from the oldest vines from the family vineyards in Traibuenas. Matured in French and American oak barrels for approximately 15 months.

Ruby red colour with a good body, on the nose you get a rush of wonderful fruit and notes of spices and cloves from the oak. It has a great palate, rich, persistent and beautifully balanced with pleasant tannins and a long finish.  I would pair it with grilled meats, stews and mature cheeses.

A special occasion vino but offering fab value for money as Javier pays stunning homage to the vinos of Bordeaux, this is a quality vino and if it said ‘made in France’ on the label you could add an extra zero to the price tag!

Drink and enjoy these vinos and let me know what you think.

Happy drinking, Un saludo,


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