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2009 Colección 125, Chardonnay, Bodegas Chivite, Navarra
Bodegas J. Chivite is one of the finest Navarra bodegas and by far the oldest, with the original winery having been established in the town of Cintruénigo in 1637. One of the world’s few producers who pre-date the establishment of Berry Bros. & Rudd, Bodegas Chivite have been producing wine through 11 generations. This most historic of estates has become one of Spain’s most important and highly respected producers.
Today it is still family-owned and run. Don Julian Chivite, who died in 1996, was the spiritual father of the present-day company and was instrumental in opening up export markets for Navarra wines. Today it is run by his children, Julian, Carlos, Fernando, and Mercedes, who represent the 10th generation of Chivites. The reputation was furthered in 1967 when Julián Chivite became a founder member of the Regulatory Council of the Denominación de Origen Navarra, and is built upon a peerless understanding of the local terroir and its affinity to a panoply of international grape varieties. Chivite continue to produce wonderful, age-worthy wines which are tremendously popular around the world, often where one sees their reputation precede them.
The firm has over 300 hectares of vineyards planted with Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. A wide range of wines is produced with pride of place going to the Coleccióne range. The Colección 125 Blanco is one of the finest new-wave Spanish whites on the market today, while its red counterpart is also keenly sought out by collectors and connoisseurs alike.
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.
Navarra has come off the shadows of its mighty neighbour Rioja, to carve its own identity for modern, attractively priced wines from indigenous and international varieties. The region of Navarra extends from the central Pyrenees to the Ebro Valley with its vineyards located in the southern part of the region, between Pamplona and the plains.
Until the 1980s Navarra was best known for its traditional rosé wines made from Garnacha, but it has since gained a reputation for being at the forefront of oenological innovation. This transformation was due in large part to the work of the Navarra Viticulture and Oenological Research Station, which has helped turn the region into a producer of diverse (mostly red) varietals and wine styles, from Tempranillo-rich Gran Reservas and fruity rosados to modern single-varietals from international grapes.