Tourists visiting a vineyard in the Baja Montaña area, Navarra

The wines of Navarra: tour the region’s vineyards and wineries

Autonomous Community of Navarre

Wine has been linked to the Navarraregion since Roman times. During the Middle Ages, various religious orders promoted the cultivation of the grape all along the Way of St James. This had an impact on wine production in Navarra, as the Camino Francés, one of the busiest pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela, crosses the region.The care lavished on this thousand-year-old tradition has brought Navarra recognition in the form of its own Designation of Origin (D.O. Navarra). 

Why choose the wines of Navarra?

As well as the differences in taste and cultivation methods that distinguish Navarra’s wines from other regions, there’s something else that gives its wines their distinctive personality: the varied climate and landscape of the places in which the grapes are grown. Depending on which part of Navarra you visit, the climate can vary between Atlantic, continental and even Mediterranean.So in the south of Navarra you can see vines growing in an almost desert-like environment near the Bardenas Reales Nature Reserve, and if you travel to the north of the region you’ll find the mountain climate of the Roncal Valley in the Pyrenees.

Vineyards in the Ribera Alta with the Monastery of La Oliva in the background in Carcastillo, Navarra

A wine map of Navarra

The Navarra Designation of Origin includes five wine-growing areas in which the wines acquire the distinctive qualities of each zone: Tierra Estella, Valdizarbe, Baja Montaña, Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja.In Tierra Estella, in the west of Navarra, one of the native grape varieties dominates: tempranillo. However, you can also find chardonnay vineyards in such picturesque villages as Villa de Monjardín, with wineries and landscapes you’re sure to appreciate as you make your way along the Way of St James. On the opposite side of the region, the grenache grape is cultivated over much of the Baja Montaña area. And between these two zones sits Valdizarbe, a place through which many pilgrims pass on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Valdizarbe is the smallest, and also the most humid, of the five locations. Below Tierra Estella, la Baja Montaña and Valdizarbe, lies the Ribera Alta. This area is home to almost 5,000 hectares of vineyard, with the famous city of Olite (renowned in Navarra for its wine-growing culture and traditions). To the south of Navarra, you’ll find the Ribera Baja, which extends over part of the Ebro Valley and is the driest of these locations.

Top: Tourists during the grape harvest in the Baja Montaña area, Navarra / Below: Detail of a winery in Otazu, Navarra

Grape varieties in the Navarra Designation of Origin

Native grape varieties that both reflect and strengthen the region’s identity are grown here. In terms of red grape varieties, these are primarily tempranillo, graciano, grenache and mazuelo. White grape varieties include white grenache, moscatel de grano menudo (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains), viura and malvasia.The grape most widely cultivated in Navarra is grenache, and the region is well-known for its red and rosé grenaches. In the past, it was the region’s rosé wines that truly stood out. These are fresh and fruity, with an attractive colour, and are produced using the saignée process (a technique based on the natural pressing of the grapes, with no mechanical intervention). Today, Navarra offers much more than just wonderful rosés, adding grapes such as pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc to its production.Want to try the most delicious grenache grapes? The head for San Martín de Unx it’s said to be the perfect place for it! It’s one of the towns on the Navarra wine route – and if you enjoy all things wine related it could well be worth checking out!

Top: Visiting the vineyards in San Martin Unx, Navarra / Abajo: Friends enjoying a wine tourism experience in Otazu, Navarra.