Under the baking sun of the Navarra wine region
in Spain, La Calandria
is crafting some of the finest expressions of pure Garnacha
we have seen. Old vines left to grow organically manage the intense heat and produce wines with rich, fruity flavours and a notable quality. The Cientruenos presents delicious notes of dried fruits, damsons and sun-dried herbs, while the Tierga is a powerful, majestic indulgence, with succulent notes of cassis and a long finish.
Tom Stevenson is the UK’s foremost authority on Champagne. But, as his seminal book on Alsace demonstrates, he knows a thing or two about other regions and other countries too as it turns out. He kindly recommended what he described as "the greatest old-vine Garnacha that he had ever tasted" and thus initiated an extraordinary correspondence with the highly individual characters from Bodega La Calandria in Navarra
, Castilian argot for ‘the lark’.
Javier Continente is a Fine Arts graduate and also a gifted wine-maker, needless to say and, perhaps a little less obviously, a professional puppeteer. He has recently completed a successful tour of South America. His vineyards are located south of Zaragoza on the frontier bad-lands between Navarra and Aragon; his vines nourished by the River Ebro, several miles south-east of their Rioja heart-land.
The magnificently idiosyncratic sepia daguerreotypes which he sent over demonstrate their full ancient splendour. Some are well over a hundred years old. The stark terrain and somewhat primitive winery belie the depth of flavour coaxed from this extraordinary range, the artistic sensibilities of their somewhat unusual progenitor captured in the aesthetics of the packaging and the originality and enthusiasm of the project. The wines of La Calandria, incidentally, are pretty good. Pretty and good, and more… The lark ascends…. Simon Field MW