Navarra ups quality control

21 March, 2008

Navarra's wine body is looking to raise the quality of its Denominacion de Origen wines by introducing an extra level of regulation.

From the 2008 vintage, wines will undergo two tastings by a panel of 40 experts at the regulating council - instead of the current one tasting.

Wines that fail to make the grade as a DO wine will be labelled vinos de la tierra - the Spanish equivalent of the French vin de pays.

Pilar García-Granero Márquez, the president of the regulating council for Navarra wines, said the stringent checks were necessary to ensure the region's wines are able to compete nationally and internationally.

She said: "We have a lot of young wines here, and although at first they may seem fine, you might try them again a while later and they don't display the same characteristics.

"Everybody is in agreement that these extra checks are necessary. The competition is very high in Spain, and we need to be able to show what we can do."

Vineyards will be inspected by the regulating council throughout the year as part of the drive to improve standards.

The council is also planning a major marketing drive with the creation of a new logo and website.

Navarra was first given DO status in 1933, and until the 1980s was known principally for its rosé wines. Today 25 per cent of its production is rosé, 70% red and 5% white wine, with Tempranillo and Garnacha the principal grape varieties.

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